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V V , 



By Ray Bradbury 








Editor H, L GOLD 

Art Director 


Advertising Manager 


Cover by 



The Tying Down of a 

Spaceship on Mars in 

a Desert sandstorm 

GALAXY Science Fiction 
is published monthly by 
World Editions, Inc. Main 
offices: 105 West 40th St., 
New York 18, N. Y. 250 
per copy, Subscriptions 
(12 copies) $2.50 per year 
in the United States, 
Canada, Mexico, South and 
Central America and U. S. 
Possessions. Elsewhere 
$3,25. Application for entry 
as second-class matter is 
pending at the Post Office, 
New York, N. Y. Copyright, 
1950, by World Editions, 
Inc. President: George A, 
Gogniat. Vice-President : 
Marco Lombi. Secretary 
and Treasurer : Anne Swe- 
reda. All rights, including 
translation, reserved. Ail 
material submitted must be 
accompanied by self -ad- 
dressed stamped envelopes. 
The publisher assumes no 
responsibility for unsolic- 
ited material. All stories 
printed^ in this magazine 
are fiction, and any simil- 
arity between characters 
and actual persons is co- 


February, 1951 

Vol. 1, No. 5 




■ - * . 

* < * 


by Ray Bradbury 4 



by Lester del Rey 62 




by Betsy Curtis 75 


, by Clifford D. S/mafc 83 


by Frank M. Robinson 1 02 

BOOK-LENGTH SERIAL— Installment 2 


by Isaac Asimov 108 



by H. L Gold 



by Groff Conklin 99 

Next issue at your newsstand first week In February 

Printed in the U. S. A. 

Reg. U. S. Pat. Off* 


. . . GALAXY Science Fiction has: 

• The most attractive appearance in its field. No reader, 
whether Ph.D., M.D., D.D., hackie, housewife or haber- 
dasher, is ashamed to be seen carrying GALAXY! 

• The most beautiful covers in its field. Paintings by 
noted artists — and now CHESLEY BONESTELL! — are 
reproduced with the minutest fidelity on Champion 
Kromekote, the choicest cover stock obtainable! 

• The highest rates and most liberal policy on story 
rights in its field. GALAXY demands no share what- 
ever in the resale of any story that appears in it, which 
helps to explain why GALAXY has . . . 

• The best fiction in its field. The finest science fiction 
writers — and now RAY BRADBURY! — are consistently 
giving GALAXY their finest stories! 

• Could this be why GALAXY Science Fiction has made 
the greatest impact and is growing more swiftly than 
any other magazine in its field? 

• M'm, yes, it could be . . . and it is! For 1 2 issues of 
convincing proof, send $2.50 and your name and 
address to: 


105 WEST 40 th STREET 
NEW YORK 18. N. Y. 

Yardstick for Science 

k MONG readers, writers and 

/% business rivals, there is no 

/~\ doubt that GALAXY has 

succeeded enormously. Of these, 

only our competitors are baffled by 

these phenomena: 

• GALAXY is naive enough to 
believe in the publishing platitudes 
of good characterization, believable 
situations, credible conflict, all of 
which have been talked up for 
years while the opposite was used. 

Whether GALAXY really does 
use them can be attested to by a 
letter from an author whose name 
would be instantly recognized: 

"... I opened the first issue 
with interest but without any spe- 
cial expectation, one way or the 
other. I recognized your name on 
the masthead . . . and I was im- 
pressed with both the ambitious 
format and the table of contents 
names. Then I read it, almost at 
one sitting — and realized I was 
reading the first fully adult science 
fiction magazine I had ever held in 
my hands! 

". . . Frankly, I didn't think you 
could keep it up more than one 
issue, being fairly sure that there 
was not that much good stuff to be 
had. But the second issue -was as 
good as the first and so was the 
third . . . 

"The quality of everything that 
has appeared in GALAXY is so 
high that, when I write for it, I 
want to be represented by my best 

Guess at the name if you wish; 
you may even be right . . . but I'll 
hold it until I have a definite an- 
nouncement to make. 

Yes, there is enough good stuff 
to be had, now that writers are 
convinced GALAXY wants them 
to discard the shabby wrappings in 
which science fiction has been 
embalmed; mummified, almost. 

This policy was inevitable, for it 
merely applies the standards of any 
legitimate branch of literature to 
science fiction. I don't want to keep 
this policy exclusively ours, for I 
do not fear good competition, 
which can expand the field 
immensely, but I am mortally 
afraid of retread private eye, west- 
ern and Congo Sam stories mas- 
querading as science fiction. 
• As I mentioned in an earlier 
editorial, reader-editor collabora- 
tion has often been offered, seldom 
meant. It was meant in GALAXY, 
despite warnings even from read- 
ers that *the screwballs might de- 
mand old hat science fiction. None 

If GALAXY is a superior maga- 


zine it is due to reader participa- 
tion and guidance! 

• GALAXY has received the 
excited support of the best writers 
of science fiction. These authors 
were not misled by party girls on 
our payroll, nor drugged into sub- 
mitting. They came voluntarily be- 
cause of our challenging editorial 
policy and the highest rates in the 
field. And just as important . . . 

• GALAXY buys only first maga- 
zine publication rights. We retain 
no other rights at all, whether 
radio, pocketbook, anthologization, 
or any other sort. We demand not 
a single cent of the payment for 
the resale of any GALAXY story! 

This point may be obscure to 
non-writers, but it is of vital con- 
cern to "authors. Vital enough, I be- 
lieve, for readers to have it 
explained to them. 

Counting false starts, stories 
that won't work out, stories that 
shouldn't have been written at all 
but seemed good at the time, re- 
search, productive labor, etc., it 
takes a stupendous amount of 
writing at even the highest rates 
to support an author and his family 
on magazine sales alone. 

Any additional income a story- 
can bring in, through anthologiza- 
tion, pocketbook reprint, or other 
resale, is important to him. 

Realizing this, GALAXY does 
not use fictitious excuses to deprive 
writers of this income, such as re- 
garding them as business infants 
who must be protected against 

their inclination to give their work 
away for nothing — while demand- 
ing a share of resale price. 
• Because of our higher rates and 
refusal to cut in on earnings that 
are not ethically a magazine pub- 
lisher's, GALAXY is, as a natural 
consequence, getting the finest sci- 
ence fiction stories. 

Also as a consequence, apparent- 
ly, "Needle" by Hal Clement will 
not be the current 'GALAXY 
Science Fiction Novel, though an- 
nounced last month. A fraction of 
the book first appeared in another 
magazine, and since it is that pub- 
lisher's policy to retain reprint 
rights, it has been refused us, de- 
spite the wishes of the author and 
the publishers of the clothbound 

Hal Clement has thus suffered a 
serious financial loss — a guarantee 
of almost the original price of the 
story, and royalties that could very 
possibly make it much more — 
through having his interests "pro- 

It is dubious protection that can, 
cancel a sale for an author and 
yet often involve a demand for a 
substantial part of the payment. In 
some cases, this demand may 
amount to as much as the original 
price of the story. 

We regret being unable to offer 
this fine book . . . but we do have 
an ORIGINAL novel, "Prelude to 
Space" by Arthur C. Clarke. It's 
good! And it's still only 25(f. 

— H. L. GOLD 






A master of science fiction presents his 
masterwork of frightening conviction . . . 
the world of the future WE are creating! 

Fire, Fire, Burn Books 


HE four men sat silently 
playing blackjack under a 
green drop-light in the dark 

morning. Only a voice whispered 

from the ceiling: 

"One thirty-five a.m. Thursday 

morning, October 4th, 2052, A.D. 

. . . One 'forty a.m. . . . one 

fifty . . ." 

Mr. Montag sat stiffly among the 
other firemen in the fire house, 
heard the voice-clock mourn out the 
cold hour and the cold year, and 

•The other three glanced up. 

"What's wrong, Montag?" 

A radio hummed somewhere. 
". . . War may be declared any 


Illustrated by KARL ROGERS 

hour. This country stands ready to 
defend its destiny and . . ." 

The fire house trembled as five 
hundred jet-planes screamed across 
the black morning sky. 

The firemen slumped in their 
coal-blue uniforms, with the look 
of thirty years in their blue-shaved, 
sharp, pink faces "and their burnt- 

colored hair. Stacked behind them 
were glittering piles of auxiliary 
helmets. Downstairs in concrete 
dampness the fire monster itself 
slept, the silent dragon of nickel 


and tangerine colors, the boa-con r 
strictor hoses, the twinkling brass. 

"I'm thinking of our last job," 
said Mr. Montag. 

"Don't," said Leahy, the fire 

■ "That poor man, when we 
burned his library. How would it 
feel if firemen burned our houses 
and our books?" 

"We haven't any books." 

"But if we did have some." 

"You got some?" 


Montag gazed beyond them to 
the wall and the typed lists of a 
million forbidden books. The titles 
cringed in fire, burning down the 
years under his ax and his fire hose 
spraying not water but — kerosene. 

"Was it always like this?" asked 
Mr. Montag. "The fire house, our 
duties? I mean, well, once upon a 
time . . ." 

"Once upon a time!" Leahy 
crowed. "What kind of language is 

Fool, cried Montag to himself. 
You'll give yourself away! That last 
fire. A book of fairy tales. He had 
dared to read a line or so. "I mean," 
he said, quickly, "in the old days, 
before homes were completely fire- 
proof, didn't firemen ride to fires 
to put them out, instead of start 

"I never knew that." Stoneman 
and Black drew forth their rule 
books and laid them where Mon- 
tag, though long familiar with 
them, might read: 

1. Answer the alarm quickly. 

2. Start the fire swiftly. 

3. Be sure you burn every- 

4. Report back to fire house. 

5. Stand alert for another 

Everyone watched Montag. 

He swallowed. "What will they 
do to that old man we caught last 
night with his books?" 

"Insane asylum." 

"But he wasn't insane!" 

"Any man is who thinks he can 
hide books from the Government 
or us." Leahy blew a great fiery 
cloud of cigar smoke from his thin 
mouth. He idled back. 

The alarm sounded. 

The bell kicked itself two hun- 
dred times in a few seconds. Sud- 
denly there were three empty chairs. 
The cards fell in a snow flurry. 
The brass pole trembled. The men 
were gone, their hats with them. 
Montag still sat. Below, the orange 
dragon coughed to life. 

Montag slid down the pole like 
a man in a dream. 

"Montag, you forgot your hat!" 

He got it and they were off, the 
night wind hammering about their 
siren noise and their mighty metal 

IT WAS a flaking three-story 
house in the old section of town. 
A century old if it was a day, but, 
like every house, it had been given 
a thin fireproof plastic coat fifty 


years ago, and this preservative shell 
seemed to be holding it up. 

"Here we are!" 

The engine slammed to a stop. 
Leahy, Stoneman, and Black ran up 
the sidewalk, suddenly odious and 
fat in their plump slickers. Montag 

They crashed the front door and 
caught a woman, running. 

"I didn't hurt anyone!" she 

"Where are they?" Leahy twist- 
ed her wrist. 

"You wouldn't take an old wo- 
man's pleasures from her, would 

Stoneman produced the tele- 
phone alarm card with the com- 
plaint signed in facsimile duplicate 
on the back. "Says here, Chief, the 
books are. in the attic." 

"All right, men, let's get 'em!" 

Next thing they were up in 
musty blackness, swinging silver 
hatchets at doors that were, after 
all, unlocked, tumbling through like 
boys all rollick and shout. 


A fountain of books sprayed 
down on Montag as he climbed 
shuddering up the steep stair well. 
Books bombarded his shoulders, his 
pale face. A book lit, almost obe- 
diently, like a white pigeon, in his 
hands, wings fluttering. In the dim, 
wavering light a page hung open 
and it was like a snowy feather, the 
words delicately painted thereon. In 
all the rush and fervor, Montag 
had only an instant to read a line, 

but it blazed in his mind for the 
next minute as if stamped there 
with a fiery iron. He dropped the 
book. Immediately, another fell into 
his arms. 

"Montag, come on up!" 

Montag's hand closed like a trap, 
crushed the book with wild devo- 
tion, with an insanity of mindless- 
ness to his chest. The men above 
were hurling shovelfuls of litera- 
ture into the dusty air. They fell 
like slaughtered birds and the wo- 
' man stood like a small girl among 
the bodies. 


He climbed up into the attic. 

" 'This too shall pass away.' " 

"What?" Leahy glared at him. 

Montag froze, blinking. "Did I 
say something?" 

"Move, you idiot!" 

THE books lay in piles like fishes 
left to dry. 

"Trash! Trash!" The men danced 
on the books. Titles glittered their 
golden eyes, falling, gone. 


They pumped the cool fluid from 
the white snake they had twined 
upstairs. They coated every book; 
they pumped rooms full of it. 

"This is better than the old man's 
place last night, eh?" 

That had not been as much fun. 
The old man had lived in an apart- 
ment house with other people. They 
had had to use controlled fire there. 
Here, they could ravage the entire 
' house. 


They ran downstairs, Montag 
reeling after them in the kerosene 

"Come on, woman!" 

"My books," she said, quietly. 
She knelt among them to touch the 
drenched leather, to read the gilt 
titles with her fingers instead of 
her eyes, while her eyes accused 

"You can't take my books," she 

"You know the law," said Leahy. 
"Pure nonsense, all of it. No two 
books alike, none agreeing. Confu- 
sion. Stories about people who 
never existed. Come on, now." 

"No," she said. 

"The whole house'll burn." 

"I won't go." 

The three men walked clumsily 
to the door. They glanced back at 
Montag who stood near the woman. 

"You're not leaving her here?" 
he protested. 

"She won't come." 

"But she's got to!" 

Leahy raised his hand. It con- 
tained the concealed igniter to start 
the fire. "Got to get back to the 
station. Besides, she'd cost us a 
trial, money, jail." 

Montag placed his hand around 
the woman's elbow. "You can-come 
with me." 

"No." She actually focused her 
eyes on him for a moment. "Thank 
you, anyway." 

"I'm counting to ten," said 
Leahy. "One, two . . ." 

"Please," said Montag. 

"Go on," said the woman. 

"Three," said Leahy. 

"Come." Montag pulled at her. 

"I want to stay here," she re- 
plied, quietly. 

"Four . . . five . . ." 

The woman twisted. Montag 
slipped on an oily book and fell. 
The woman ran up the stairs half 
way and stood there with the books 
at her feet. 

"Six . . . seven . . . Montag," 
said Leahy. 

Montag did not move. He looked 
out the door at that man there with 
the pink face, pink and burned and 
shiny from too many fires, pink 
from night excitements, the pink 
face of Mr. Leahy with the igniter 
poised in his pink fingers. 

Montag felt the book hidden 
against his pounding chest. 

"Go get him!" ordered Leahy. 

THE men dragged Montag yell- 
ing from the house. 

Leahy backed out after them, 
leaving a kerosene trail down the 
walk. When they were a hundred 
feet away, Montag was still shout-, 
ing and kicking. He glanced wildly 

In the front door where she had 
come to gaze out at them quietly, 
her quietness a condemnation, star- 
ing straight into Leahy's eyes, was 
the woman. 

Leahy twitched his finger to ignite 
the fuel. 

He was too late. Montag 


The woman in the door, reach- 
ing with contempt toward them all, 
struck a match against the saturated 

People ran out of houses all down 
the street. 


r HO is it?" 

Who would it be?" 
said Mr. Montag, leaning back 
against the closed door in the dark. 

His wife said, at last, "Well, put 
on the light." 

"I don't want the light," he said. 

"Come to bed." 

He heard her roll impatiently; 
the springs squeaked. "Are you 

He worked out of his coat and 
let it slump to the floor. He held 
his pants out into an abyss and let 
them fall forever and forever into 

His wife said, "What are you 

He balanced in space with the 
book in his sweating, icy hand. 

A minute later, she said, "Well, 
don't just stand there in the middle 
of the room." 

He made a small sound. 

"What?" she asked. 

He made more soft sounds. He 
stumbled toward the bed and 
shoved the book clumsily under the 
cold pillow. He fell into bed and 
his wife cried out, startled. He lay 
separate from her. She talked to him 
for what seemed a long while and 
when he didn't reply but only made 
sounds, he felt her hand creep over, 

up along his chest, his throat, his 
chin. Her hand brushed his cheek. 
He knew that she pulled her hand 
away from his cheek wet. 

A long time later when he was 
finally floating into sleep, he heard 
her say, "You smell of kerosene." 

"I always smell of kerosene," he 

Late in the night he looked over 
at Mildred. She was awake. There 
was a tiny dance of melody in the 
room. She had her thimble-radio 
tamped into her ear, listening, lis- 
tening to far people in far places, 
her eyes peeled wide at deep ceil- 
ings of blackness. Many nights in 
the last ten years he had £pund her 
with her eyes open, like a dead 
woman. She would lie that way, 
blankly, hour upon hour, and then 
rise and go soundlessly to the bath. 
You could hear faucet water run, 
the tinkle of the sedatives bottle, 
and Mildred gulping hungrily, 
frantically, at sleep. 

She was awake now. In a mo- 
ment she would rise and go for the 

"Mildred," he thought. 

And suddenly she was so strange 
that he couldn't believe that he 
knew her at all. He was in someone 
else's house, like those jokes men 
told about the gentleman, drunk 
on life, who had come home late 
at night, unlocked the wrong door, 
entered a wrong room. And now 
here Montag lay in the strange 
night by this unidentified body he 
had never seen before. 


"Millie?" he called. 


"I didn't mean to startle you. 
What I want to know is, when did 
we meet? And where?" 

"For what?" 

"I mean originally." 

She was frowning in the dark. 

HE CLARIFIED it. "The first 
time we ever met, where was 
it, and when?" 

"Why, it was at . . ." 

She stopped. 

"I don't know." 

He was frightened. "Can't you 

They both tried. 

"It's been so long." 

"Only ten years. We're both only 

"Don't ( get excited, I'm trying 
to think." She laughed a strange 
laugh. "How funny, not to remem- 
ber where or when you met your 
husband or wife." 

He lay with his eyes tight, press- 
ing, massaging his brow. It was 
suddenly more important than any 
other thing in a lifetime that he 
knew where he had met Mildred. 

"It doesn't matter." She was up, 
in the bathroom now. He heard the 
water rushing, the swallowing 

"No, I guess not," he murmured. 

And he wondered, did she take 
twenty tablets now, like a year ago, 
when we had to pump her stomach, 
and me shouting to keep her awake, 
walking her, asking her why she 

did it, why she wanted to die, and 
she saying she didn't know, she 
didn't know, she didn't know any- 
thing about anything! 

She didn't belong to him; he 
didn't belong to her. She didn't 
know herself, him, or anyone; the 
world didn't need her, she didn't 
need herself, and in the hospital he 
had realized that if she died he 
would not cry. For it was the dying 
of an unknown, a street face, a face 
in the newspaper^ and it was sud- 
denly so wrong that he had begun 
to cry, not at death but at the 
thought of not crying at death, a 
silly empty man beside an empty 
woman while the doctors emptied 
her still more. 

And why are we empty, lonely, 
and not in love? he had asked him- 
self, a year ago. 

They were never together. There 
was always something between, a 
radio, a televisor, a car, a plane, a 
game, nervous exhaustion, or, sim- 
ply, a little pheno-barbitol. They 
didn't know each other; they knew 
things, inventions. They had ap- 
plauded science while' it had built 
a beautiful glass structure, a glitter- 
ing miracle of contraptions about 
them, and, too late, they had found 
it to be a glass wall. They could 
not shout through the wall; they 
could only pantomime silently, 
never touching, hearing, barely see- 
ing each other. 

Looking at Mildred at the hos- 
pital, he had thought, does it matter 
if we live of die? 



That might not have been 
enough if the people' had not moved 
next door with their daughter. 

Perhaps that had been the start 
of his awareness of his job, his 
marriage, his life. 

ONE night — it was so long ago — 
he had gone out for a long 
walk. In the moonlight, he realized 
that he had come out to get away 
from the nagging of his wife's tele- 
vision set. He walked, hands in 
pockets, blowing steam from his 
mouth into the cold air. 

"Alone," He looked at the ave- 
nues ahead. "By God, I'm alone. 
Not another pedestrian in miles." 
He walked swiftly down street after 
street. "Why, I'm the only pedes- 
trian in the entire city!" The 
streets were empty and long and 
quiet. Distantly, on crosstown arter- 
ies, a few cars moved in the dark. 
But no other man ventured upon 
the earth to test the use of his legs. 
In fact, it had been so many years 
since the sidewalks were used that 
they were buckling, becoming ob- 
scured with grass. 

So he walked alone, aware of 
his loneliness, until the police car 
pulled up and flashed its cold white 
light upon him. 

"What're you doing?" shouted a 

"I'm out for a walk." - 
"He says he's out for a walk." 
The laughter, the cold, precise 
turning over of his identity cards, 
the careful noting of his address. 

"Okay, mister, you can walk 

He had gone on, stomping his 
feet, jerking his mouth and hands, 
eyes blazing, gripping his elbows. 
"The nerve! The nerve! Is there a 
law against pedestrians!" 

The girl -turned a corner and 
walked toward him. 
. She stopped and glanced at him. 

"Why, hello," she said, and put 
out her hand. "You're my neigh- 
bor, aren't you?" 

"Am I?" he said. 

She was smiling quietly. "We're 
the only live ones, aren't we?" She 
waved at the empty sidewalks. "Did 
the police stop you, too?" 

"Walking's a crime." 

"They flashed their lights on me, 
but saw I was a woman — " She 
was- no more than sixteen, Montag 
estimated, with eyes and hair as 
dark as mulberries, and a paleness 
about her that was not illness but 
radiance. "Then they drove away. 
I'm Clarisse McClellan. And you're 
Mr. Montag, the fireman." 

They walked together. And she 
began to talk for both of them. 

"It's a graveyard, this town," she 
said. "I like to walk just to keep 
my franchise on the sidewalks." 

He looked and it was true. The 
city was like a dark tomb, every 
house deep in television dimness, 
not a sound or move anywhere. 

<<TTAVE you ever noticed all the 

J. J. cars rushing?" she asked. 

"On the big boulevards down that 



way, day and night. I sometimes 
think they don't know what grass 
is, or flowers, because they never 
see them slowly. If you showed 
them a green blur, oh, yes! they'd 
say, that's grass! A pink blur, yes, 
that's roses!" She laughed to her- 
self. "A white blur's a house. Quick 
brown blurs are cows. My uncle 
drove slow on a highway once. 
They threw him in jail. Isn't that 
funny and sad, too?" 

"You think of a lot of things for 
a girl," said Montag, uneasily. - 

"That's because I've got time to 
think. I never watch t-v or go to 
games or races or funparks. So I've 
lots of time for crazy thoughts, I 
guess. Have you seen the two hun- 
dred-foot-long billboards in the 
country? Well, did you know that 
once billboards were only twenty- 
five feet long? But cars started go- 
ing by so quickly, they had to 
stretch the advertising out so it 
could be seen." 

"I didn't know that." Montag 
laughed abruptly. 

"Bet I know something else you 


"There's dew on the grass in the 

He couldn't remember, and sud- 
denly it frightened him. 

"And, if you look, there's a man 
in the moon." 

He had never looked. His heart 
beat rapidly. 

They walked the rest of the way 
in silence. When they reached her 

house, its lights were all blazing. It 
was the only house, in a city of a 
million houses, with its lights burn- 
ing brightly. 

"What's going on?" Montag had 
never seen that many house lights. 

"Oh, just my mother and father 
and uncle sitting around, talking. 
It's like being a pedestrian, only 

"But what do they talk about?" 

She laughed at this, said good 
night, and was gone. 

At three in the cold morning, 
he got out of bed and stuck his 
head out the front window. The 
moon was rising and there was a 
man in the moon. Over the broad 
lawn, a million jewels of dew 

"I'll be damned," said Montag, 
and went back to bed. 

HE SAW Clarisse many after- 
noons and came to hope he 
would be seeing her, found himself 
watching for her sitting on her 
green lawn, studying the autumn 
leaves with a fine casual air, or re- 
turning from a distant woods with 
wild yellow flowers, or looking at 
the sky, even while it was raining. 
"Isn't rain nice?" she said. 
"I hadn't noticed." 
"Believe me, it is nice." 
He always laughed embarrassed- 
ly. Whether at her, or at himself, 
he wasn't sure. "I believe you." 

"Do you really? Did you ever 
smell old leaves? Don't they smell 
like cinnamon? Here!" 



"Why, it is cinnamon, yes!" 

She gazed at him with her clear 
dark eyes. "My gosh, you don't 
really know very much, do you?" . 
She was not unkind, just concerned 
for him. 

"I don't suppose any of us know 

"I do," she said, quietly, "be- 
cause I've time to look." 

"Don't you attend school?" 

"Oh, no. They say I'm anti-social. 
I don't mix. And the yelling bully 
is the thing among kids this season, 
you know." 

"It's been a long season," ob- 
served Montag, and stood some- 
what shocked at his own percep- 

"Then you've noticed?" 

"Yes. But what about your 

"I haven't any. That's supposed 
to prove I'm abnormal. But they're 
always packed around the t-v, or 
racing in cars, or shouting or beat- 
ing one another. Do you notice how 
people hurt one another now- 

"You sound ancient." 

"I am. I know about rain. That 
makes me ancient to them. They 
kill each other. It didn't used to be 
that way, did it? Children killing 
each other all the time? Four of 
my friends have been shot in the 
past year. I'm afraid of children." 

"Maybe it was always this way." 

"My father says his grandfather 
remembered when children didn't 
kill each other, when children were 

seen and not heard. But that was a 
long time ago, when they had disci- 
pline and responsibility. Do you 
know, I'm disciplined? I'm spanked 
when I need it, and I've responsi- 
bility. I do all the shopping and 
housecleaning. By hand." 

"And you know about rain," said 
Mr. Montag, with the rain beating 
on his hat and coat. 

"It tastes good if you lean back 
and open your mouth. Go on." 

He leaned back and gaped. 

"Why," he said, "it's wive." 

THAT had not been the end of 
it. The girl had talked to him 
one bright afternoon and given him 
the dandelion test. 

"It proves you're in love or not." 

She brushed a dandelion under 
his chin. 

"What a shame! You're not in 
love with anyone." 

And he thought, when did I 
stop loving Mildred? and the an- 
swer was never! for he had never 
known her. She was the pale, sad 
goldfish that swam in the subter- 
ranean illumination of the televi- 
sion parlor; her natural habitat. 

"It's the dandelion you use," 
protested Montag. 

"No," said Clarisse, solemnly. 
"You're not in love. A dandelion 
won't help." She tossed the flower 
away. "Well, I've got to go see 
my psychiatrist. My teachers are 
sending me to him. He's trying to 
make me normal." 

"I'll throttle him if he does!" 



"Right now he's trying to figure 
out why I go away from the city 
and walk in the forests once a day. 
Have you ever walked in a forest? 
No? It's so quiet and lovely, and 
nobody rushing. I like to watch the 
birds and the insects. They don't 

Before she left him to go inside, 
she looked at him suddenly and 
said, "Do you know, Mr. Montag, 
I can't believe you're a fireman." 

"Why not?" 

"Because you're so nice. Do you 
mind if I ask one last question?" 

"I don't mind." 

"Why do you do what you do?" 

But before he knew what she 
meant or could make a reply, she 
had run off, embarrassed at her own 

"What did she mean, why do I 
do what I do?" he said to himself. 
"I'm a fireman, of course. ■ I burn 
books. Is that what she meant?" 

He didn't see Clarisse for a 
month. He watched for her every 
day, but made no point of her ab- 
sence to his wife. He wanted to go 
rap on her parents' door, but de- 
cided against it; he didn't want 
them misunderstanding his interest 
in the child. But after thirty-six 
days had passed, he brought Clar- 
isse's name up offhand. 

"Oh, her?" said Mildred, with 
the radio music jarring the table 
plates. "Why, didn't you know?" 

"Know what?" 

"She was killed by an automobile 
a month ago." 

"A month! But why didn't 
someone tell me?" 

"Didn't I? I suppose it slipped 
my mind. Yes, a car hit her." 

"Did they find whose car it 

"No. You know how those things 
are. What do you want for supper, 
frozen steak or chops?" 

AND so Clarisse was dead. No, 
disappeared! for in a large 
city you didn't die, you simply van- 
ished. No one missed you, no one 
saw you go; your death was as in- 
significant as that of a butterfly 
carried secretly away, caught in the 
radiator grille of a speeding car. 

And with Clarisse's death, half 
of the world was dead, and the 
other half was instantly revealed to 
him for what it was. 

He saw what Mildred was and 
always would be, what he himself 
was but didn't want to be any more. 
And he saw that it was no idle 
thing, Mildred's suicidal attempts, 
the lovely dark girl with the flow- 
ers being ground under a car; it was 
a thing of the world they lived in. 
It was a part of the screaming, 
pressing down of people into elec- 
tric molds. It was the meaningless 
flight of civilization down a rotary 
track to smash its own senseless 
tail. Mildred's flight was trying to 
die and escape nothingness, whereas 
Clarisse had been fighting nothing- 
ness with something, with being 
aware instead of forgetting, with 
walking instead of sitting, with go- 



ing to get life instead of having it 
brought to her. 

And this civilization had killed 
her for her trouble. Not purposely, 
no, but with a fine ironic sense; for 
no purpose at all. Killed by a 
vanilla-faced idiot racing nowhere 
for nothing and irritated that he 
had been detained 120 seconds 
while the police investigated and 
released him on his way to some 
distant base which he must tag fran- 
tically before running for home. 

Montag felt the slow gathering 
of awareness. Mildred. Clarisse. 
The firemen. The murdering chil- 
dren. Last night, the old man's 
books burned and him in an asylum. 
Tonight, that woman burned be- 
fore his eyes. It was such a night- 
mare that only another nightmare, 
less horrible, could be used to 
escape from it, and Clarisse had 
died weeks ago and he had not 
seen her die, which made it some- 
how cruder and yet more bearable. 

"Clarisse. Clarisse." 

Montag lay all night long, think- 
ing, smelling the smoke on his 
hands, in the dark. 


E HAD chills and fever in the 

"You can't be sick," said Mil- 

He closed his eyes upon the 
hotness. '-'Yes." 

"But you were all right last 

"No, I wasn't all right." He 
heard the radio in the parlor. 

Mildred stood over his bed, 
curiously. He felt her there; he saw 
her without opening his eyes, her 
hair burned by chemicals to a brittle 
straw, her eyes with a kind of men- 
tal cataract unseen but suspect far 
behind the pupils, the reddened 
pouting lips, the body as thin as a 
praying mantis from dieting, and 
her flesh like raw milk. He could 
remember her no other way. 

"Will you bring me an analgesic 
and water?" 

"You've got to get up," she said. 
"It's noon. You've slept five hours 
later than usual." 

"Will you turn the radio off?" 
he asked. 

"That's my favorite program." 

"Will you turn it off for a sick 

"I'll turn it down." 

She went out of the room and 
did nothing to the radio and came 
back. "Is that better?" 


"That's my favorite program," 
she repeated, as if she had not said 
it a thousand times before. 

"What about the analgesic?" 

"You've never been sick before." 
She went away again. 

"Well, I'm sick now. I'm not 
going to work tonight. Call Leahy 
for me." 

"You acted funny last night." 
She returned, humming. 

"Where's the analgesic?" He 
glanced at the water glass. 

"Oh." She walked to the bath 
again. "Did something happen?" 



"A fire, that's all." 

"I had a nice evening," she said, 
in the bathroom. 

"What doing?" 


"What was on?" 


"What programs?" 

"Some of the best ever." 


"Oh, you know, the big shows." 

"Yes, the big shows, big, big, 
big." He pressed at the pain in his 
eyes and suddenly the odor of kero- 
sene made him vomit. 

Mildred came in, humming. She 
was surprised. "Why'd you do 

He looked with dismay at the 
floor. "We burned an old woman 
with her books." 

"It's a good thing the rug's 
washable." She fetched a mop and 
swabbed clumsily at it. "I went to 
Helen's last night." 

"Couldn't you get the shows on 
your own t-v?" 

"Sure, but it's nice visiting." 

"Did Helen get over that finger 
infection ?" 
' "I didn't notice." 

SHE went out into the living 
room. He heard her by the 
radio, singing. 

"Mildred?" he called. 
She returned, singing, snapping 
her fingers softly. 

"Aren't you going to ask me 
about last night?" he said. 
"What about it?" 

"We burned a thousand • books 
and a woman." 

"Forbidden books." 

The radio was exploding in the 

"Yes. Copies of Plato and Soc- 
rates and Marcus Aurelius." 


"Something like that." 

"Then they were radicals." 

"All foreigners can't be radicals." 

"If they wrote books, they were." 
Mildred fiddled with the telephone. 
"You don't expect me to call Mr. 
Leahy, do you?" 

"You must!" 

"Don't shout." 

"I wasn't shouting!" He was up 
in bed, suddenly, enraged and 
flushed, shaking. The radio roared 
in the hot air. "I can't call him. I 
can't tell him I'm sick." 


Because you're afraid, he thought, 
pretending illness, afraid to call. 
Leahy because after a moment's dis- 
cussion the conversation would run 
so: "Yes, Mr. Leahy, I feel better 
already. I'll be in at ten o'clock 

"You're not sick," said Mildred 

Montag fell back in bed. He 
reached under his pillow and 
groped for the hidden book. It 
was still there. 

"Mildred, how would it be if — 
well, maybe I quit my job awhile?" 

"You want to give up every- 
thing? After all these years of 
working, because, one night, some 
woman and her books — " 



"You should have seen her, 

"She's nothing to me. She 
shouldn't have had books. It was 
her responsibility; she should' ve 
thought of that. I hate her. She's 
got you going and next thing you 
know we'll be out, no house, no 
job, nothing." 

"You weren't there, you didn't 
see," he said. "There must be 
something in books, whole worlds 
we don't dream about, to make a 
woman stay in a burning house. 
There must be something fine 
there. You don't stay and burn for 

"She was simple-minded." 

"She was as rational as you or I, 
more so, and we burned her." 

"That's water under the bridge." 

"No, not water, Millie, but fire. 
You ever seen a burned house ? It 
smolders for days. Well, this fire'll 
last me half a century. My God, 
I've been trying to put it out, in 
my mind, all night, and I'm crazy 
with trying." 

"You should've thought of that 
before becoming a fireman." 

"IT1HOUGHT!" he said. "Was I 
■jL given a choice? I was raised 
to think the best thing in the world 
is not to r^id. The best thing is 
television and radio and ball games 
and a home I can't afford and, Good 
Lord, now, only now I realize what 
I've done. My grandfather and 
father were firemen. Walking in 
my sleep, I followed them." 

The radio was playing a dance 

"I've been killing the brain of 
the world for ten years, pouring 
kerosene on it. Millie, a book is a 
brain. It isn't only that woman we 
destroyed, or others like her, in 
these years, but it's the thoughts I 
burned and never knew it." 

He got out of bed. 

"It took some man a lifetime to 
put some of his thoughts on paper, 
looking after all the beauty and 
goodness in life, and then we come 
along in two minutes and heave it 
in the incinerator!" 

"Let me alone," said Mildred. 

"Let you alone!" He almost cried 
out with laughter. "Letting you 
alone is easy, but how can I leave 
myself alone? That's what's wrong. 
We need not to be let alone. We 
need to be upset and stirred and 
bothered, once in a while, anyway. 
Nobody bothers any more. Nobody 
thinks. Let a baby alone, why don't 
you? What would you have in 
twenty years? A savage, unable to 
think or talk — like us!" ' 

Mildred glanced out the window. 
"Now you've done it. Look who's 

"I don't give a damn." He was 
feeling better but didn't know 

"It's Mr. Leahy." 

The elation drained away. Mr. 
Montag slumped. 

"Go open the door," he said, at 
last. "Tell him I'm sick." 

"Tell him yourself." 



He made sure the book was 
hidden behind the pillow, climbed 
back into bed, and had made him- 
self tremblingly- uncomfortable, 
when the door opened and Mr. 
Leahy strolled in, hands in pockets. 

"Shut the radio off," said Leahy, 

This time, Mildred obeyed. 

Mr. Leahy sat down in a com- 
fortable chair with a look of strange 
peace in his pink face. He did not 
look at Montag. 

"Just thought I'd come by and 
see how the sick man is." 

"How'd you guess?" 

"Oh." Leahy smiled his pink 
smile, and shrugged. "I'm an old 
hand at this. I've seen it all. You 
were going to call me and tell me 
you needed a day off." 


"TT7ELL, take a day off," said 
VV Leahy, looking at his 
hands. He carried an eternal match 
with him at times in a little case 
which said, Guaranteed: One Mil- 
lion Cigarets Can Be Lit with this 
Match, and kept striking this ab- 
stractedly against its case as he 
talked. "Take a day off. Take two. 
But never take three." He struck 
the match and looked at the flame 
and blew it out. "When will you 
be well?" 

"Tomorrow, the next day, first of 
the week, I . . ." 

"We've been wondering about 
you." Leahy put a cigar in his 
mouth. "Every fireman goes through 

this. They only need understanding, 
need to know how the wheels run, 
what the history of our profession 
is. They don't give it to rookies any 
more. Only fire chiefs remember it 
now. I'll let you in on it." He lit 
the cigar leisurely. 

Mildred fidgeted. 

"You ask yourself about the 
burning of books, why, how, 
when." Leahy exuded a great gray 
cloud of smoke. 

"Maybe," said Montag. 

"It started around about the 
Civil War, I'd say. Photography 
discovered. Fast printing presses 
coming up. Films at the early part 
of the 20th Century. Radio. Tele- 
vision. Things began to have mass, 
Montag, mass." 

"I see." 

"And because they had mass, 
they became simpler. Books, now. 
Once they appealed to various small 
groups of people, here and there. 
They could afford to be different. 
The world was roomy. But then the 
world got full of mass and elbows. 
Films and radios and magazines and 
books had to level down to a sort 
of paste- pudding norm. Do you 
follow me?" 

"I think so." 

Leahy looked through a veil of 
smoke, not at Montag, but at the 
thing he was describing. "Picture 
it. The 19th Century man with his 
horses, dogs, and slow living. You 
might call him a slow motion man. 
Then in the 20th Century you speed 
up the camera." 



"A good analogy." 

"Splendid. Books get shorter. 
Condensations appear. Digests. 
Tabloids. Radio programs simplify. 
Everything sublimates itself to the 
gag, the snap ending." 

"Snap ending." Mildred nodded 
approvingly. "You should have 
heard last night — " 

"Great classics are cut to fit fif- 
teen minute shows, then two min- 
ute book columns, then two line 
digest resumes. Magazines become 
picture books. Out of the nursery 
to the college, back to the nursery, 
in a few short centuries!" 

MILDRED arose. She was losing 
the thread of the talk, Mon- 
tag knew, and when this happened 
she began to fiddle with things. 
She went about the room, picking 

"Faster and faster the film, Mr. 
Montag! Quick, Click, Pic, Look. 
Eye, Now/ Flick, Flash, Here, 
There, Swift, Up, Down, Why, 
How, Who, Eh? Mr. Montag, di- 
gest-digests, political affairs in one 
column, a sentence, a headline, and 
then, in mid-air, vanish! The mind 
of man, whirling so fast under the 
pumping hands of publishers, pub- 
licists, ad men, broadcasters that the 
centrifuge throws off all ideas! He 
is unable to concentrate!" 

Mildred was smoothing the bed 
now. Montag felt panic as she ap- 
proached his pillow to straighten it. 
In a moment, with sublime inno- 
cence, she would be pulling the 

hidden book out from behind the 
pillow and displaying it as if it 
were a reptile! 

Leahy blew a cumulus of cigar 
smoke at the ceiling. "School is 
shortened, discipline relaxed, phi- 
losophies, histories, languages 
dropped, English and spelling neg- 
lected, finally ignored. Life is 
immediate. The job counts. Why 
learn anything save pressing but- 
tons, pulling switches, fitting 

"Let me fix your pillow," said 
Mildred, being the video house- 

"No," whispered Montag. 

"The zipper replaces the button. 
Does a man have time to think 
while dressing in the morning, a 
philosophical time?" 

"No," said Montag, automati- 

Mildred tugged at the pillow. 

"Get away," said Montag. 

"Life becomes one big Prat Fall, 
Mr. Montag. No more " subtleties. 
Everything is bang and boff and 

"Wow," reflected Mildred, yank- 
ing the pillow edge. 

"For God's sake, let me be!" 
cried Montag, passionately. 

Leahy stared. 

Mildred's hand was frozen be- 
hind the pillow. Her hand was on 
the book, her face stunned, her 
mouth opening to ask a ques- 
tion . . . 

"Theaters stand empty, Mr. 
Montag, replaced by television and 



baseball and sports where nobody 
has to think at all, not at all, at 
all." Now Leahy was almost in- 
visible, a voice somewhere back of 
a choking screen of cigar smoke. 

"What's this?" asked Mildred, 
with delight, almost. Montag 
crushed and heaved back against 
her hands. "What've you hid 

"Sit down!" Montag screamed. 
She jumped back, her hands 
empty. "We're talking!" 

LEAHY continued, mildly. "Car- 
toons everywhere. Books be- 
come cartoons. The mind drinks 
less and less. Impatience. Time to 
kill. No work, all leisure. Highways 
full of crowds going somewhere, 
anywhere, nowhere. The gasoline 
refugee, towns becoming motels, 
people in nomadic surges from city 
to city, impatient, following the 
moon tides, living tonight in the 
room where you slept last night and 
I the night before." 

Mildred went into the other 
room and slammed the door. She 
turned on the radio. 

"Go on," said Montag. 

"Intelligent writers gave up in 
disgust. Magazines were vanilla 
tapioca. The book buyer, bored by 
dishwater, his brain spinning, quit 
buying. Everyone but the comic- 
publisher died a slow publishing 
death. There you have it. Don't 
blame the Government. Technol- 
ogy, mass exploitation, and censor- 
ship from frightened officials did 

the trick. Today, thanks to them, 
you can read comics, confessions, 
or trade journals, nothing else. All 
the rest is dangerous." 

"Yes, but why the firemen?" 
asked Montag.' 

"Ah," said Leahy, leaning for- 
ward in the clouds of smoke to 
finish. "With schools turning out 
doers instead of thinkers, with non- 
readers, naturally, in ignorance, 
they hated and feared books. You 
always fear an unfamiliar thing. 
'Intellectual' became a swear word. 
Books were snobbish things. 

"The little man wants you and 
me to be like him. Not everyone 
born free and equal, as the Consti- 
tution says, but everyone made 
equal. A book is a loaded gun in 
the house next door. Burn it. Take 
the shot out of the weapon. Un- 
breach men's minds. Who knows 
who might be the target of the 
well-read man? And so, when 
houses became all fireproof and 
there was no longer need of firemen 
for protection, they were given the 
new job, as official censors, judges, 
jurors, punishers. That's you, Mr. 
Montag, and me." 

Leahy stood up. "I've got to get 

Montag lay back in bed. "Thanks 
for explaining it to me." 

"You must understand our civil- 
ization is so vast that we can't have 
our minorities upset and stirred. 
People must be contented. Books 
bother them. Colored people don't 
like Little Black Sambo. We burn 



it. White people don't like Uncle 
Tom's Cabin. Burn it, too. Any- 
thing for serenity." 

Leahy shook Montag's limp 

"Oh, one last thing. Once in his 
career, every fireman gets curious. 
What do the books say, he won- 
ders. A good question. Well, they 
say nothing, Mr. Montag. Nothing 
you can touch or believe in. They're 
about non-existent people, figments. 
Not to be trusted. But anyway, say, 
a fireman 'takes' a book, at a fire, 
almost by 'accident.' A natural 


"We allow that. We let him 
keep it 24 hours. If he hasn't 
burned it by then, we burn it for 

"I see," said Montag. His throat 
was dry. 

"You'll be at work tonight at 
six- o'clock?" 



Montag shut his eyes. "I'll be 
in later, maybe." 

"See that you do." 

"I'll never come in again!" 
yelled Montag, but only in his 

"Get well." 

Leahy, trailing smoke, went out. 

MONTAG watched through the 
front window as Leahy drove 
away in his gleaming beetle which 
was the color of the last fire they 
had set. 

Mildred had turned on the after- 
noon television show and was star- 
ing into the shadow screen. 

Montag cleared his throat, but 
she didn't look up. 

"It's only a step," he said, "from 
not working today, to not working 
tomorrow, to not working ever 

"You're going to work tonight, 

"I'm doing more than that," he 
said. "I'm going to start to kill 
people and rave, and buy books!" 

"A one-man revolution," said 
Mildred, lightly, turning to look at 
him. "They'd put you in jail, 
wouldn't they?" 

"That's not a bad idea. The best 
people are there." He put his 
clothes on, furiously, walking 
about the bedroom. "But I'd kill a 
few people before I did get locked 
up. There's a real bastard, that 
Leahy. Did you bear him! Knows 
all the answers, but does nothing 
about it!" 

"I won't even listen to all this 
junk," said Mildred. 

"No?" he said. "This is your 
house as well as mine, isn't it?" 


"Then I have something I want 
you to see, something I put away 
and never looked at again during 
the past year, not even knowing 
why I put them away and hid them 
and kept them and never told you." 

He dragged a chair into the hall, 
climbed up on it, and opened an 
air-vent. Reaching up, he began 



throwing books, big ones, little 
ones, red, yellow, green books, 
twenty, thirty, fifty books, one by 
one, swiftly, into the parlor at her 
feet. "There!" 

"Leonard Montag! You didn't!" 

"So you're not in this with me? 
You're in it up to your neck!" 

She backed away as if she were 
surrounded by a pack of terrible 
rats. Her face was paled out and 
her eyes were fastened wide and 
she was breathing as if someone 
had struck her in the stomach. 
"They'll burn our house. They'll 
kill us." 

"Let them try." 

She hesitated; then, moaning, she 
seized a book and ran toward the 

He caught her. "No, Millie! No! 
Never touch my books. Never. Or, 
by God, if you do, touch just one 
of them meaning to burn it, be- 
lieve me, Millie, I'll kill you." 

"Leonard Montag! You would- 

HE SHOOK her. "Listen," he 
pleaded down into her face. 
He held her shoulders firmly, while 
her face bobbed helplessly, and 
tears sprang from her eyes. 

"You must help me," he said, 
slowly, trying to find his way into 
her thinking. "You're in this now, 
whether you like it or not. I've 
never asked for anything in my life 
of you, but I ask it now, I plead it. 
We must start somewhere. We're 
going to read books. It's a thing 

we haven't done and must do. 
We've got to know what these 
books are so we can tell others, and 
so that, eventually, they can tell 
everyone. Sit down now, Millie, 
there, right there. I'll help you, 
we'll help each other. Between us, 
we'll do something to destroy men 
like Leahy and Stoneman and 
Black and myself, and this world 
we live in, and put it all back to- 
gether a different way. Do you 
bear me?" 

"Yes." Her body sagged. 

The doorbell rang. 

They jerked about to stare at the 
door and the books toppled every- 
where, everywhere in heaps. 


"It can't be him!" 

"He's come back!" sobbed Mil- 

The bell rang again. 

"Let him stand out there. We 
won't answer." Montag reached 
blindly for a book on the floor, 
any book, any beginning, any start, 
any beauty at all would do. He put 
the book into Mildred's shaking 

The bell rang a third time, in- 

"Read." He quivered a hand to 
a page. "Out loud." 

Mildred's eyes were on the door 
and the bell rang angrily, loudly, 
again and again. "He'll come io," 
she said, "oh, God, and set fire to 
everything, and us." 

But at last she found the line, 
with Montag standing over her, 



swaying, any line in the book, and 
after trying it four times, she be- 
gan to fumble out the words of a 
poem printed there on the white, 
unburned paper: 

"And evening vanish and no more, 
The low pale light across the 
the land — " 

The bell rang. 
"Nor now the long light on the 

sea — 
And here face downward in the 
sun . . ." 

Another ring. 

Montag whispered. "He'll go 
away in a minute." 

Mildred's lips trembled: 
"To feel how swift, how secretly 
The shadow of the night comes 
on . . ." 

Near the ceiling, smoke from 
Leahy's cigar still lingered. 


The Sieve and the Sand 

THEY read the long after- 
noon through, while the fire 
flickered and blew on the 
hearth and the October rain fell 
from the sky upon the strangely 
quiet house. Now and again, Mr. 
Montag would silently pace the 
room, or bring in a bottle of cold 
beer and drink it easily or say, 
"Will you read that part over 
again? Isn't that an idea now?" 
And Mildred's voice, as colorless 
as a beer bottle which contains a 

rare and beautiful wine but does 
not know it, went on enclosing the 
words in plain glass, pouring forth 
the beauties with a loose mouth, 
while her drab eyes moved over the 
words and over the words and the 
rain rained and the hour grew late. 

They read a man named Shake- 
speare and a man named Poe and 
part of a book by a man named 
Matthew and one named Mark. On 
occasion, Mildred glanced fearfully 
at the window. 

"Go on," said Mr. Montag. 

"Someone might be watching. 
That might' ve been Mr. Leahy at 
our door a while back." 

"Whoever it was went away. 
Read that last section again. I want 
to understand that." 

She read from the works of 
Jefferson and Lincoln. 

When it was five o'clock her 
hands dropped open. "I'm tired. 
Can I stop now?" Her voice was 

"How thoughtless of me." He 
took a book from her. "But isn't 
it beautiful, Millie? The words, 
and the thoughts, • aren't they ex- 

"I don't understand any of it." 

"But surely . . ." 

"Just words." 

"But you remember some of it." 


"You'll learn. It's difficult at 

"I don't like books," she said. 
"I don't understand books. They're 
over my head. They're for profes- 



sors and radicals and I don't want 
to read any more. Please, promise 
you won't make me." 


"I'm afraid," she said, putting 
her face into her shaking hands. ' 
"I'm so terribly frightened by these 
ideas, by Mr. Leahy, and having 
these books in the house. They'll 
burn our books and kill us. Now, 
. I'm sick." 

"I'm sorry," he said at last, sigh- 
ing. "I've put you on trial, haven't 
I ? I'm way out front, trying to drag 
you, when I should be walking be- 
side you, barely touching. I expect 
too much. It'll take months to put 
you in the frame of mind where 
you can receive the ideas in these 
books. It's not fair of me. All right, 
you won't have to read aloud 


"But you must listen. I'll ex- 

"I'll never learn. I just know I 

"You must if you want to be 

"I'm free already. I couldn't be 

"You can't be free if you're not 

"Why do you want to ruin us" 
with all this?" she asked. 

"Listen," he said. 

SHE listened. 
Jet-bombers were crossing 
the sky over their house. 

Those quick gasps in the 

heavens, as if a running giant had 
drawn his breath. Those sharp, al- 
most quiet whistles, here and gone 
in so much less than an instant that 
one almost believed one had heard 
nothing. And seeing nothing in the 
sky, if you did look, was worse 
than seeing something. There was 
a feeling as if a great invisible fan 
was whirring blade after hostile 
blade across the stars, with giant 
murmurs and no motion, perhaps 
only a faint trembling of starlight. 
All night, every night of their 
lives, they had heard those jet 
sounds and seen nothing, until, like 
the tick of a clock or a time-bomb, 
it had come to be unnoticed, for it 
was the sound of today and the 
sound of today dying, the Cheyne- 
Stokes respiration of civilization. 

"I want to know why and how 
we are where we are," said Mon- 
tag. "How did those bombers get 
in the sky every instant? Why have 
there been three semi-atomic wars 
since I960? Where did we take the 
wrong turn ? What can we do about 
it? Only the books know this. May- 
be the books can't solve my prob- 
lem, but they can bring me out in 
the light. And they might stop us 
from going on with the same in- 
sane mistakes." 

"You can't stop wars. There've 
always been wars." 

"No, I can't. War's so much a 
part of us now that in the last three 
days, though we're on the very rim 
of war, people hardly mention it. 
Ignoring it, at least, isn't the an- 



swer. But now, about us. We must 
have a schedule of reading. An hour 
in the morning. An hour or so in 
the afternoon. Two hours in the 
evening — " 

"You're not going to forbid me 
my radio, are you?" Her voice 

"Well, to start . . ." 

She was up in a fury, raging at 
him. "I'll sit and listen if you want 
me to for a while every day," she 
cried. "But I've got to have my 
radio programs, too, and every 
night on the t-v — you can't take 
that away from me!" 

"But don't you see? That's the 
very thing I'd like to counter- 

The telephone rang. They both 
started. Mildred snatched it up and 
was almost immediately laughing. 
"Hello, Ann. Yes, oh, yes! Tonight, 
you come here. Yes, the White 
Clown's on tonight and the Terror 
will be fun." 

Mr. Montag shuddered, sick. He 
left the room. He walked through 
the house, thinking. 

Leahy, the fire house, these dan- 
gerous books. 

"I'll shoot him tonight," he said, 
aloud. "I'll kill Leahy. That'll be 
one censor out of the way. No." 
He laughed coldly. "I'd have to 
shoot most of the people in the 
world. How does one start a revo- 
lution? I'm alone. My wife, as the 
saying goes, does not understand 
me. What can a single lonely man 

MILDRED was chattering. The 
radio was thundering, turned 
on again. 

And then Mr. Montag remem- 
bered; about a month ago, walking 
through the park alone, he had 
come upon a man in a black suit, 
unaware. The man had been read- 
ing something. Montag hadn't seen 
a book; he had only seen the man 
move hastily, face flushed. The man 
had jumped up as if to run, and 
Montag had said, simply, "Sit 

"I didn't do anything." 
"No one said you did." 
They had sat in the park all after- 
noon. Montag had drawn the man 
out. He was a retired professor of 
English literature, who had lost his 
job forty years before when the last 
college of fine arts had been closed. 
His name was William Faber, and 
shyly, fearfully, he admitted he had 
been reading a little book of Amer- 
ican poems, forbidden poems which 
he now produced from his coat 

"Just to know I'm alive," said 
Mr. Faber. "Just to know where I 
am and what things are. To sense 
things. Most of my friends sense 
nothing. Most of them can't talk. 
They stutter and halt and hunt 
words. And what they talk is sales 
and profits and what they saw on 
television the hour before." 

What a nice afternoon that had 
been. Professor Faber had read 
some of the poems to Montag, none 
of which Montag understood, but 


ihe sounds were good, and slowly 
the meaning crept in. When it was 
all over, Montag said, "I'm a fire- 

Faber had looked as if he might 
die on the spot. 

"Don't be afraid. I won't turn 
you in," said Montag hastily. "I 
stopped being mean about it years 
ago. You know, the way you talk 
reminds me of a girl I knew once, 
name of Clarisse. She was killed a 
few months ago by a car. But she 
had me thinking, too. We met each 
other because we took long walks. 
No one walks any more. I haven't 
seen a pedestrian in ten years on 
our street. Are you ever stopped by 
police simply because you're a 
pedestrian ?" 

He and Faber had smiled, ex- 
changed addresses orally, and 
parted. He had never seen Faber 
again. It wouldn't be safe to know 
a former English literature profes- 
sor. But now . . .? 

He dialed a call. 

"Hello, Professor Faber?" 

"Who is this?" 

"This is Montag. You remem- 
ber? The park? A month ago?" 

"Yes, Mr. Montag. Can I help 

"Mr. Faber." He hesitated. 
"How many copies of the Bible are 
left in the world?" 

"I'm afraid I don't know what 
you're talking about." The voice 
grew cold. 

"I want to know if there are any 
copies at all." 

"I can't discuss such things, Mon- 

"This line is closed. There's no 
one listening." 

"Is this some sort of trap? I 
can't talk to just anyone on the 

"Tell me, are there any copies?" 

"None!" And Faber hung up. 


MONTAG fell back in his 
chair. None! None in all the 
world, none left, none anywhere, 
all, all of them destroyed, torn 
apart, burned. The Bible at last 
dead for all time to the world. 

He got up shakily and walked 
across the room and bent down 
among the books. He took hold of 
one book and lifted it. 

"The old and new testaments, 
Millie! One last copy and we have 
it here!" 

"Fine," she said vaguely. 

"Do you realize what it means, 
the importance of this copy here in 
our house? If anything should 
happen to this book, it would be 
lost forever." 

"And you have to hand it back 
to Mr. Leahy tonight to be burned, 
'don't you?" said Mildred. She was 
not being cruel. She was merely 
relieved that the one book, at least, 
was going out of her life. 


He could see Leahy turning the 
book over with slow appreciation. 
"Sit down, Montag. I want you to 
watch this. Delicately, like a head 



of lettuce, see?" Ripping one page 
after another from the binding. 
Lighting the first page with a 
match. And when it had curled 
down into black wings, lighting the 
second page from the first and the 
third from the second, and so on, 
chain-smoking the entire volume 
chapter by printed chapter, all of 
the words and the wisdom. When 
it was finished, with Montag seated 
there sweating, the floor would re- 
semble a swarm of black moths 
that had fluttered and died in one 
small storm. And Leahy smiling, 
washing his hands. 

"My God, Millie, we've got to 
do something! We've got to copy 
this. There must be a duplicate 
made. This can't be lost!" 

"You haven't time." 

"No, not by hand. But if we 
could photograph it." 

"No one would do it for you." 

He stopped. She was right. There 
was no one to trust, except, per- 
haps, Professor Faber. Montag 
started for the door. 

"You'll be here for the t-v party, 
won't you?" Mildred called after 
him. "It wouldn't be fun without 

"You'd never miss me." But she 
was looking at the late afternoon 
t-v show and didn't hear. He went 
out and slammed the door, the book 
in his hand. 

ONCE, as a child, he had sat 
upon the yellow dunes by the 
sea in the middle of the blue and 

hot summer day, trying to fill a 
sieve with sand. The faster he 
poured, the faster it sifted through 
with a hot whispering. He tried all 
day because some cruel cousin had 
said, "Fill this sieve and you'll get 
a dime!" 

Seated there in the midst of 
July, he had cried. His hands were 
tired, the sand was boiling, the 
sieve was empty. 

And now, as the jet-underground 
car roared him through the lower 
cellars of town, rocking him, jolt- 
ing him, he remembered that frus- 
trating sieve and he held this 
precious copy of the old and new 
testaments fiercely in his hands, 
trying to pour the words into his 
mind. But the words fell through, 
and he thought, in a few hours I 
must hand this book to Leahy, but 
I must remember each word, no 
phrase must escape me, each line 
can be memorized. I must remem- 
ber, I must. 

"But I do not remember." He 
shut the book and pressed it with 
his fists and tried to force his mind. 

"Try Denham's Dentifrice to- 
night!" screamed the radio in the 
bright, shuddering wall of the jet- 
train. Trumpets blared. 

"Shut up," thought Mr. Monta:: 
in panic. "Behold, the lilies of the 

"Denham's Dentifrice!" 

"They toil not — " 

"Denham's Dentifrice!" 

"Behold, the lilies of the field, 
shut up, let me remember!" 



"Denham's Dentifrice!" 

He tore the book open furiously 
and flicked the pages about as if 
blind, tearing at the lines with raw 
eyes, staring until his eyelashes 
were wet and quivering. 

"Denham's, Denham's, Den- 
ham's! D-E-N— " 

"They toil not, neither do 
they . . ." 

A whisper, a faint sly whisper of 
yellow sand through empty, empty 

"Denham's does it!" 

"Behold, the lilies — " 

"No dandier dental detergent!" 

"Shut up!" It was a shriek so 
loud, so vicious that the loud- 
speaker seemed stunned. Mr. Mon- 
tag found himself on his feet, the 
shocked inhabitants of the loud car 
looking at him, recoiling from a 
man with an insane, gorged face, a 
gibbering wet mouth, a flapping 
book in his fist. These rabbit peo- 
ple who hadn't asked for music 
and commercials on their public 
trains but who had got it by the 
sewerful, the air drenched and 
sprayed and pummeled and kicked 
by voices and music every instant. 
And here was an idiot man, him- 
self, suddenly scrabbling at the 
wall, beating at the loudspeaker, at 
the enemy of peace, at the killer of 
philosophy and privacy! 

"Madman !" 

"Call the conductor!" 

"Denham's, Denham's Double 

"Fourteenth Street!" 

Only that saved him. The car 
stopped. Montag, thrown into the 
aisle by the grinding halt, rolled 
over, book in hand, leaped up past 
the pale, frightened faces, screamed 
in his mind soundlessly, and was 
out the opening door of the train 
and running on the white tiles up 
and up through tunnels, alone, that 
voice still crying like a seagull on 
a lonely shore after him, "Den- 
ham's, Denham's . . ." 

the door, saw the book, seized 
it. "My God, I haven't held a copy 
in years!" 

"We burned a house last night. 
I stole it." 

"What a chance to take!" 

Montag stood catching his 
breath. "I was curious." 

"Of course. It's beautiful. Here, 
come in, shut the door, sit down." 
Faber walked with the book in his 
finger-s, feeling it, flipping the 
pages slowly, hungrily, a thin man, 
bald, with slender hands, as light 
as chaff. "There were a lot of love- 
ly books once. Before we let them 
go." He sat down and put his hand 
over his eyes. "You are looking at 
a coward, Mr. Montag. When they 
burned the last of the evil books, 
as they called them, forty years 
back, I made only a few feeble 
protestations and subsided. I've 
damned myself ever since." 

"It's not too late. There are still 

"And there is still life in me, and 



I'm afraid of dying. Civilizations 
fall because men like myself fear 

"I've a plan," said Montag. "I'm 
in a position to do things. I'm a 
fireman; I can find and hide books. 
Last night I lay awake, thinking. 
We might publish many books pri- 
vately when we have copies to print 

"How many have been killed for 

"We'll get a press." 

"We? Not we. You, Mr. Mon- 

"You must help me. You're the 
only one I know. You must." 

"Must? What do you mean, 

"We could find someone to 
build a press for us." 

"Impossible. The books are 

"We can bring them back. I 
have a little money." 

"No, no." Faber waved his 
hands, his old hands, blotched with 
liver freckles. 

"But let me tell you my plan." 

"I don't want to hear. If you 
insist on telling me, I must ask you 
to leave." 

"We'll have extra copies of each 
book printed and hide them in fire- 
men's houses !" 

"What?" The professor raised 
his brows and gazed at Montag as 
if a bright light had been switched 

"Yes, and put in an alarm." 

"Call the fire engines?" 

"Yes, and see the engines roar 
up. See the doors battered down 
on firemen's houses for a change. 
And see the planted books found 
and each fireman, at last, accused 
and thrown in jail!" 

The professor put his hand to 
his face. "Why, that's absolutely 

"Do you like it?" 

"The dragon eats his tail." 

"You'll join me?" 

"I didn't say that. No, no." 

""DDT you see the confusion and 
-L» suspicion we could spread?" 
"Yes, plenty of trouble there." 
"I've a list of firemen's homes 
all across the states. With an under- 
ground, we could reap fire and 
chaos for every blind bastard in the 
"You can't trust anyone, though." 
"What about professors like 
yourself, former actors, directors, 
writers, historians, linguists?" 
"Dead, or ancient, all of them." 
"Good. They'll have fallen from 
public notice. You know hundreds 
of them. I know you must." 

"Nevertheless, I can't help you, 
Montag. I'll admit your idea ap- 
peals to my sense of humor, to my 
delight in striking back. A tem- 
porary delight, however. I'm a 
frightened man; I frighten easily." 
"Think of the actors alone, then, 
who haven't acted Shakespeare or 
Pirandello. We could use their 
anger, and the rage of historians 
who haven't written for forty years. 



We could start small classes in 
reading . . ." 


"We could try." 

"The whole civilization must 
fall. We can't change just the 
front. The framework needs melt- 
ing and remolding. Don't you real- 
ize, young man, that the Great 
Burning forty years back was almost 
unnecessary? By that time the pub- 
lic had stopped reading. Libraries 
were Saharas of emptiness. Except 
the Science Department." 


"Can you shout louder than 
radio, dance faster than t-v? Peo- 
ple don't want to think. They're 
having fun." 

"Committing suicide." 

"Let them commit it." 


"Let them murder. The fewer 
fools there will be." 

"A war is starting, perhaps to- 
night, and no one will even talk 
about it." 

The house shook. A bomber 
flight was moving south. It had 
slowed to five hundred miles an 
hour and was trembling the two 
men standing there across from each 

"Let the war turn off the t-vs 
and radio, and bomb the true con- 

"I can't wait," said Montag. 

"Patience. The civilization is 
flinging itself to pieces. Stand back 
from the centrifuge." 

"There has to be another struc- 

ture ready when this one falls," in- 
sisted Montag. "That's us." 

"A bunch of men quoting Shake- 
speare and saying I remember 
Sophocles ? It would be funny if it 
were not tragic." 

"We've got to be there. We've 
got to remind those who are left 
that there are things more urgent 
than machines. We must remember 
that the right kind of work is 
happiness, instead of the wrong 
kind of leisure. We must give peo- 
ple things to do. We must make 
them feel wanted again." 

"They will only war again. No, 
Montag, go on home and go to 
bed. It was nice seeing you. But 
it's a lost cause." 

MONTAG paced about the 
room for a few moments, 
chafing his hands, then he returned 
and picked up the book and held 
it toward the other man. 

"Do you see this book? Would 
you like to own it?" 

"My God, yes! I'd give my right 
arm for it." 

"Watch." Montag began ripping 
the pages out, one by one, drop- 
ping them to the floor, tearing 
them in half, spitting on them and 
rolling them into wads. 

"Stop it!" cried Faber. "You 
idiot, stop it!" He sprang forward. 
Montag warded him off and went 
on tearing at the pages. 

"Do you see?" he said, a fistful 
of pages in his tightening fist, flour- 
ishing them under the chin of the 



old man. "Do you see what it 
means to have your heart torn out? 
Do you see what they do?" 

"Don't tear any more, please," 
said the old man. 

"Who can stop me? You? I'm a 
fireman. I can do anything I want 
to do. Why, I could burn your 
house now, do you know that? I 
could burn everything. I have the 

"You wouldn't!" 

"No. I wouldn't." 

"Please. The book; don't rip it 
any more. I can't stand that." Faber 
sank into a chair, his face white, 
his mouth trembling. "I see; I un- 
derstand. My God, I'm old enough 
so it shouldn't matter what happens 
to me. I'll help you. I can't take 
any more of this. If I'm killed, it 
won't make any difference. I'm a 
terrible fool of an old man and 
it's too late, but I'll help you." 

"To print the books?" 


"To start classes?" 

"Yes, yes, anything, but don't 
ruin that book, don't. I never 
thought a book could mean so much 
to me." Faber sighed. "Let us say 
that you have -my limited coopera- 
tion. Let us say that part of your 
plan, at least, intrigues me, the idea 
of striking back with books planted 
in firemen's homes. I'll help. How 
much money could you get me to- 

"Five thousand dollars." 

"Bring it here when you can. I 
know a man who once printed our 

college paper. That was the year I 
came to class one morning and 
found only two students' to sign up 
for Ancient Greek Drama. You see, 
that's how it went. Like an iceblock 
melting in the sun. And when the 
people had censored themselves into 
a living idiocy with their purchas- 
ing power, the Government, which 
of course represents the people's 
will, being composed of representa- 
tive people, froze the situation. 
Newspapers died. No one cared if 
the Government said they couldn't 
come back. No one wanted them 
back. Do they now? I doubt it, 
but I'll contact a printer, Montag. 
We'll get the books started, and 
wait for the war. That's one fine 
thing; war destroys machines so 

MONTAG went to the door. 
"I'm afraid I'll have to take 
the Bible along." 


"Leahy guessed I have a book in 
the house. He didn't come right 
out and accuse me, or name the 
book . . ." 

"Can't you substitute another 
book for this?" 

"I can't chance it. It might be 
a trap. If he expects me to bring a 
Bible and I brought something else, 
I'd be in jail very quickly. No, I'm 
afraid this Bible will be burned to- 

"That's hard to accept." Faber 
took it for a moment and turned 
the pages, slowly, reading. 



"I've tried to memorize it," said 
Montag. "But I forget. It's driven 
me crazy, trying to remember." 

"Oh, God, if we only had a little 

"I keep thinking that. Sorry." 
He took the book. "Good night." 

The door shut. Montag was in 
the darkening street again, looking 
at the real world. 

YOU could feel the war getting 
ready in the sky that night. 
The way the clouds moved aside 
and came back, and the way the 
stars looked, a million of them hov- 
ering between the clouds, like the 
enemy discs, and the feeling that 
the sky might fall upon the city 
and turn the homes to chalk dust, 
and the moon turn to red fire; that 
was how the night felt. 

Montag walked from the sub- 
way stop with his money in His 
pocket — he had been to the bank 
which stayed open until all hours 
with mechanical tellers doling out 
the money — and as he walked he 
was listening abstractedly to the 
Seashell radio which you could cup 
to your ear (Buy a Seashell and 
hear the Ocean of Time!) and a 
voice was talking to him and only 
him as he turned his feet toward 
home. "Things took another turn 
for the worse today. War threatens 
at any hour." 

Always the same monologue.- 
Nothing about causes or effects, no 
facts, no figures, nothing but sud- 
den turns for the worse. 

Seven flights of jet-rockets went 
over the sky in a breath. Montag 
felt the money in his pocket, the 
Bible in his hand. He had given up 
trying to memorize it now; he was 
simply reading 'it for the enjoyment 
it gave, the simple pleasure of good 
words on the tongue and in -the 
mind. He uncupped the Seashell 
radio from his ear and read another 
page of the Book of Job by moon- 

AT EIGHT o'clock, the front 
door scanner recognized three 
women and opened, letting them in 
with laughter and loud, empty talk. 
Mrs. Masterson, Mrs. Phelps, and 
Mrs. Bowles drank the martinis 
Mildred handed them, rioting like 
a crystal chandelier that someone 
has pushed, tinkling upon them- 
selves in a million crystal chimes, 
flashing the same white smiles, their 
echoes repeated in empty corridors. 
Mr. Montag found himself in the 
middle of a conversation, the main 
topic of which was how nice every- 
one looked. 

"Doesn't everyone look nice?" 
"Real nice." 
"You look fine, Alma." 
"You look fine, too, Mildred." 
"Everybody looks nice and fine," 
said Montag. 

He had put the book aside. None 
of it would stay in his mind. The x 
harder he tried to remember Job, 
for instance,- the quicker it van- 
ished. He wanted to be out paying 
this money to Professor Faber, get- 



ting things going, and yet he 
delayed himself. It would be dan- 
gerous to be seen at Faber's twice 
within a few hours, just in case 
Leahy was taking the precaution of 
having Montag watched. 

Like it or not, he must spend the 
rest of the evening at home, and 
be ready to report to work at eleven 
so that Leahy wouldn't be suspi- 
cious. Most of all, Montag wanted 
to walk, but he rarely did this any 
more. Somehow he was always 
afraid that he might meet Clafisse, 
or not meet her again, on his strolls, 
so that kept him here standing - 
among these blonde) tenpins, bowl- 
ing back at them with socially re- 
quired leers and wisecracks. 

Somehow the television set was 
turned on before they had even fin- 
ished saying how nice everyone 
looked, and there on the screen was 
a man selling orange soda pop and 
a woman drinking it with a smile; 
how could she drink and smile 
simultaneously? A real stunt! Fol- 
lowing this, a demonstration of how 
to bake a certain new cake, fol- 
lowed by a rather dreary domestic 
comedy, a news analysis that did 
not analyze anything and did not 
mention the war, even though the 
house was shaking constantly with 
the flight of new jets from four 
directions, and an intolerable quiz 
show naming the state capitals. 

Montag sat tapping his fingers 
on his knee and exhaling. 

Abruptly, he walked to the tele- 
visor and snapped it off. 

"I thought we might enjoy a 
little silence." 

Everyone blinked. 

"Perhaps we might try a little 
conversation . . ." 


THE house shook with successive 
waves of jet bombers which 
splashed the drinks in the ladies' 

"There they go," said Montag, 
watching the ceiling. "When do 
you suppose the war will start?" 

"What war? There won't be a 

"I notice your husbands aren't 
here tonight." 

Mrs. Masterson glanced nervous- 
ly at the empty t-v screen. "Oh, 
Dick'll be back in a week or so. 
The Army called him. But they 
have these things every month or 
so." She beamed. 

"Don't you worry about the 

"Well, heavens, if there is one, 
it's got to be over with. We can't 
just sit and worry, can we?" 

"No, but we can think about it?' 

'"I'll let Dick think of it." A 
nervous giggle. 

"And die maybe." 

"It's always someone else's hus- 
band dies, isn't that the joke?" The 
women all tittered. 

Yes, thought Montag, and even 
if Dick does die, what does it mat- 
ter? We've learned the magic of 
the replaceable part from machines. 
You can't tell one man from an- 




other these days. And women, like 
so many plastic dolls — 

Everyone was silent, like children 
with a schoolmaster. 

"Did you see the Clarence Dove 
film last night?" said Mildred, 

"He's hilarious." 

"But what if Dick should die, or 
your husband, Mrs. Phelps?" Mon- 
tag insisted. 

"He's dead. He died a week ago. 
Didn't you know? He jumped from 
the tenth floor of the State Hotel." 

"I didn't know." Montag fell 
silent, embarrassed. 

"But to get back to Clarence 
Dove . . ." said Mildred. 

"Wait a minute," said Montag, 
angrily. "Mrs. Phelps, why did you 
marry your husband ? What did you 
have in common?" 

The woman waved her hands 
helplessly. "Why, he had such a 
nice sense of humor, and we liked 
the same t-v shows and — " 

"Did you have any children?" 

"Don't be ridiculous." 

"Come to think of it, no one 
here has children," said Montag. 
"Except Mrs. Bowles." 

"Four, by Caesarian section. It's 
easy that way." 

"The Caesarians weren't neces- 

"I always said I'd be damned if 
I'd go through all that agony just 
for a baby. Four Caesarians. Noth- 
ing to it, really." 

Yes, everything easy. Montag 
clenched his teeth. To mistake the 
easy way for the right way, how 
delicious a temptation. But it wasn't 
living. A woman who wouldn't 
bear, or a shiftless man didn't be- 
long; they were passing through. 
They belonged to nothing and did 

"Have you ever thought, ladies," 
he said, growing more contemptu- 
ous of them by the moment, "that 
perhaps this isn't the best of all 
possible worlds? That perhaps our 
civil rights and other precious pos- 
sessions haven't been taken away in 
the past century, but have, if any- 
thing, been given away by us?" 

"Why, that can't be true! We'd 
have heard about it." 



"/~\N THAT pap-dispenser?" 

Vv cried Montag, jerking his 
hand at the t-v. Suddenly he shoved 
his hand in his pocket and drew 
forth a piece of printed paper. He 
was shaking with rage and irrita- 
tion and he was half blind, staring 
down at the twitching sheet before 
his eyes. 

"What's that?" Mrs. Masterson 

"A poem I tore from a book." 

"I don't like poetry." 

"Have you ever heard any?" 

Mildred jumped up, but Montag 
said, coldly, "Sit down." The wo- 
men all lit cigarets nervously, 
twisting their red mouths. 

"This is illegal, isn't it?" 
squealed Mrs. Phelps. "I'm afraid. 
I'm going home." 

"Sit down and shut up," said 

The room was quiet. 

"This is a poem by a man named 
Matthew Arnold," said Montag. 
"Its title is Dover Beach." 

The women were all glancing 
with expectation at the television 
set, as if it might save them from 
this moment. 

Montag cleared his throat. He 
waited. He wanted very much to 

speak the poem right, and he was 
afraid that he might stumble. He 

His voice rose and fell in the 
silent room and he found his way 
through to the final verses of the 

"The Sea of Faith 

Was once, too, at the full, and 

round earth's shore 
Lay like the folds of a bright 

girdle furled. 
But now I only hear 
Its melancholy, long, withdrawing 

Retreating, to the breath 
Of the night-wind, down the vast 

edges drear 
And naked shingles of the world." 

The four women twisted in their 

Montag finished it out: 

"Ah, love, let us be true 

To one another! for the world, 

which seems 
To lie before us like a land of 

So various, so beautiful, so new, 
Hath really neither" joy, nor love, 

nor light, 



Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help 

for pain; 
And we are here as on a darkling 

Swept with confused alarms of 

struggle and flight, 
Where ignorant armies clash by 

night." * 

Montag let the white piece of 
paper fall slowly to the floor. The 
women watched it flutter and settle. 

Mildred said, "Can I turn the 
t-v on now?" 

"No, God damn it, no!" 

Mildred sat down. 

Mrs. Masterson said, "I don't 
get it. The poem, I mean." 

"What was it about?" asked 
Mrs. Phelps, her eyes darting fear- 
fully in flashes of white and dark. 

"Don't you see?" shouted Mon- 

"Nothing to get upset about," 
said Mrs. Masterson, casually. 

"But it is, it is." 

"Just silly words," said Mrs. 
Masterson. "But, Mr. Montag, I 
don't mind telling you — it is only 
because you're a fireman that we 
haven't called in an alarm on you 
for reading this to us. It's illegal. 
But it's also very silly. It was non- 
sense." She got to her feet and 
mashed out her cigaret. "Ladies, 
don't you think it's time for us to 

"I don't want to come back 
here, ever," said Mrs. Phelps, hur- 
rying for the door. 

"Please stay!" cried Mildred. 

The door slammed. 

"Go home and think of your 
first husband, Mrs. Masterson, in 
the insane asylum, and of Mr. 
Phelps jumping off a building!" 
yelled Montag through the shut 

The house was completely aban- 
doned. He stood alone. 

In the bathroom, water was run- 
ning. He heard Mildred shaking 
the sleeping tablets out into her 

"You fool," he said to himself. 
"You idiot. Now you've done it. 
Now you've ruined it all, you and 
your poem, you and your righteous 

He went into the kitchen and 
found the books where Mildred had 
stacked them behind the refrigera- 
tor. He carried a selection of them 
into the back yard, hid them in the 
weeds near the fence. "Just in 
case," he thought, "Mildred gets a 
passion for burning things during 
the night. The best books out here; 
the others in the house don't mat- 

He went back through the house. 
"Mildred ?" he called at the bed- 
room door but there was no sound. 

He shut the front door quietly 
and left for work. 

"rnHANK you, Montag." Mr. 
JL Leahy accepted the copy of 
the Bible and, without even looking 
at it, dropped it into the wall in- 
cinerator. "Let's forget all about it. 
Glad to see you back, Montag." 



They walked upstairs. 

They sat and played cards at one 
minute after midnight. 

In Leahy's sight, Montag felt the 
guilt of his hands. His fingers were 
like ferrets that had done some evil 
deed, and now were never at rest, 
always stirring and picking and 
hiding in pockets, or moving out 
from under Leahy's alcohol-flame 
gaze. If Leahy so much as breathed 
on them, Montag felt that they 
might wither upon his wrists and 
die and he might never shake them 
to life again; they would be buried 
forever in his coat sleeves, forgot- 
ten. _ 

For these were the hands that 
had acted on their own, that were 
no part of him, that were his swift 
and clever conscience, that snatched 
books, tore pages, hid paragraphs 
and sentences in little wads to be 
opened later, at home, by match- 
light, read and burned. They were 
the hands that in the last year had 
darted off with Shakespeare and 
Job and Ruth and shelved them 
away next his crashing heart, over 
the throbbing ribs and the hot, 
roaring blood of a man excited by 
his theft, appalled by his temerity, 
betrayed by ten fingers which at 
times he held up to watch as if 
they were gloved with blood. 

The game proceeded. Twice in 
half an hour, Montag got up and 
went to the latrine to wash his 
hands. He came back. He sat down. 
He held his cards. Leahy watched 
his fingers fumble the cards. 

"Not smoking, Montag?" 

"I've a cigaret cough." 

And then, of course, the smoke 
reminded him of old men and old 
women screaming and falling into 
wild cinders, and it was not good 
any more to hold fire in your hand. 

He put his hands under the 
table. "Let's have your hands in 
sight," said Leahy, casually. "Not 
that we don't trust you." 

They all laughed. 

The phone rang. 

MR. LEAHY, carrying his cards 
in one pink hand, walked 
slowly over and stood by the 
phone, let it ring twice more, and 
then picked it up. 


Mr. Montag listened, eyes shut. 

The clock ticked in the room. 

"I see," said Leahy. He looked 
at Montag. He smiled. He winked. 
Montag glanced away. "Better give 
me that address again." 

Mr. Montag got up. He walked 
around the room, hands in pockets. 
The other two men were standing 
ready. Leahy jerked his head "to- 
ward their coats, as if to say, "On 
the double!" They shoved their 
arms in their coats and pushed on 
their helmets, joking in whispers. 

Mr.< Montag waited. 

"I understand perfectly," said 
Leahy into the phone. "Yes. Yes. 
Perfectly. No, that's all right. Don't 
you worry. We'll be right out." 

Leahy deposited the receiver. 
"Well, well." 



"A call? Books to be burned?" 

"So it seems." 

Mr. Montag sat down heavily. 
"I don't feel well." 

"What a shame; this is a special 
case," said Leahy, coming forward 
slowly, putting on his slicker. 

"I think I'm handing in my resig- 

"Not yet, Montag. One more 
fire, eh? Then I'll be agreeable; 
you can hand in your papers. We'll 
all be happy." 

"Do you mean that?" 

"Have I ever lied to you?" 

Leahy fetched a helmet. "Put this 
on. The job'll be over in an hour. 
I understand you, Montag, really I 
do. Everything will be just as you 
want it." 

"All right." 

They slid down the brass pole. 

"Where's the fire?" 

"I'll drive!" shouted Leahy. 
"I've got the address." 

The engine blasted to life and 
in the gaseous tornado they all 
leaped aboard. 

THEY rounded a corner in thun- 
der and siren, with concussion 
of tires, with scream of rubber, with 
a shift of kerosene bulk in the glit- 
tery brass tank, like the food in the 
stomach of a giant, with Mr. Mon- 
tag's fingers jolting off the silver 
rail, swinging into cold space, with 
the wind tearing his hair back from 
his bleak face, with the wind whis- 
tling in his teeth, and he all the 
while thinking of the women, the 

chaff women, with the kernels 
blown out from under them by a 
neon wind, and his reading a book 
to them. 

What. a silly thing it was now! 
For what was a book? Sheets of 
paper, lines of type. Why should he 
fret for books — one, two, or ten 
thousand of them, really? He was 
the only inhabitant of a burning 
world that cared, so why not drop 
it all, forget it, let the now-mean- 
ingless books lie? 

"Here we go!" shouted Leahy. 

"Elm Street?" 


He saw Leahy up on his driver's 
throne, with his massive black 
slicker flapping out behind. He 
seemed to be an immense black bat 
flying above the engine, over the 
brass numbers, taking the wind. 
His pink, phosphorescent face glim- 
mered in the high darkness, press- 
ing forward, and he was smiling 

"Here we go to keep the world 

And Mr. Montag thought, "No, 
I can't let the books rot; I can't let 
them burn. As long as there are 
souls like Leahy, I can't hold my 
breath. But what can I do? I can't 
kill everyone. It's me against the 
world, and the odds too big for 
any man. What can I do? Against 
fire, what water is best?" 

"Now over on Park Terrace!" 

The fire engine boomed to a halt, 
throwing the men off in skips and 
clumsy hops. Mr. Montag stood fix- 



ing his raw eyes to the cold bright 
rail under his gripped fingers. 

"I can't do it," he murmured. "I 
can't go in there. I can't rip another 

Leahy jumped from his throne, 
smelling of the wind that had 
hammered him about. "Okay, Mon- 
tag, fetch the kerosene!" 

The hoses were snaked out. The 
men ran on soft boots, as clumsy 
as cripples, as quiet as deadly black 

Mr. Montag turned his head. 

"What's wrong, Montag?" Leahy 
asked, solicitously. 

"Why," protested Montag, "that 
is my house." 

"So it is," agreed Leahy, heart- 

All the lights were lit. Down the 
street, more lights were flicking on, 
people were standing on porches, 
as the door of Montag's house 
opened. In it, with two suitcases in 
her hands, stood Mildred. When 
she saw her husband, she came 
down the steps quickly, with a 
dreamlike rigidity, looking at the 
third button on his coat. 


She said nothing. 

"Okay, Montag, up with the hose 
and ax." 

"Just a moment, Mr. Leahy. Mil- 
dred, you didn't telephone this call 
in, did you?" 

SHE walked past him with her 
arms stiff and at the ends of 
them, in the sharp, red-nailed fin- 

gers, the valise handles. Her mouth 
was bloodless. 

"You didn't!" he said. 

She shoved the valises into a 
waiting taxi-beetle and climbed in 
and sat there, staring straight 

Montag started toward her. 
Leahy caught his arm. 

"Come on, Montag." 

The cab drove away slowly down 
the lighted street. 

There was a crystal tinkling as 
Stonemari and Black chopped the 
windows to provide fine drafts for 
the fire. 

Mr. Montag walked but did not 
feel his feet touch the walk, nor the 
hose in his icy hands, nor did he 
hear. Leahy talking continually as 
they reached the door. 

"Pour the kerosene in, Montag." 

Montag stood gazing in at the 
queer house, made strange by the 
hour of the night, by the murmur 
of neighbor voices, by the littered 
glass, the lights blazing, and there 
on the floor, their covers plucked 
off, the pages spilled about like 
pigeon feathers, were his incredible 
books, and they looked so pitiful 
and silly and not worth bothering 
with, for they were nothing but type 
and paper and raveled binding. 

Montag stepped forward in a 
huge silence and picked up one of 
the pages of the books and read 
what it had to say. 

He had read only three lines 
when Leahy snatched the paper 
from him. 



"Oh, no," he said, smiling. "Be- 
cause then we'd have to burn your 
mind, too. Mustn't have that." He 
stepped back. "Ready?" 

"Ready." Montag snapped the 
valve lock on the fire-thrower. 

"Aim," said Leahy. 



He burned the television set first 
and then the radio and he burned 
the motion picture projector and 
he burned the films and the gossip 
magazines and the litter of cos- 
metics on a table, and he took 
pleasure in it all, and he burned the 
walls because he wanted to change 
everything, the chairs, the tables, 
the paintings. He didn't want to 
remember that he had lived here 
with some strange woman who 
would forget him tomorrow, who 
had gone and forgotten him already 
and was listening to a radio as she 
rode across town. So he burned the 
room with a precise fury. 

"The books, Montag, the 
books !" 

He directed the fire at the books. 
They leaped and danced, like roast- 
ed birds, their wings frantically 
ablaze in red and yellow feathers. 
They fell in charred lumps. 

"Get that one there, get it!" di- 
rected Leahy, pointing. 

Montag burned the indicated 

He burned books, he burned 
them by the dozen, he burned 
books with sweat pouring down 
his cheeks. 

"When you're all done, Mon- 
tag," said Leahy behind him, 
"you're under arrest." 


Water, Water, Quench Yire 

THE house fell into red ruin. 
It bedded itself down to 
sleepy pink ashes and a 
smoke pall hung over it, rising 
straight to the sky. It was ten min- 
utes after one in the morning. The 
crowd drew back into their houses; 
the fun was over. 

Mr. Montag stood with the fire- 
thrower in his stiff hands, great 
islands of perspiration standing out 
under his arms, his face smeared 
with soot. The three other firemen 
waited behind him in the darkness, 
their faces illumined faintly by the 
burned house, by the house which 
Mr. Montag had just charred and 
crumpled so efficiently with kero- 
sene, flame-gun, and deliberate aim. 

"All right, Montag," said Leahy. 
"Come along. You've done your 
duty. Now, you're in custody." 

"What've I done?" 

'•'You know what you did. Don't 

"Why so much fuss over a few l 
bits of paper?" 

"We won't stand here arguing; 
it's cold." 

"Was it my wife called you, or 
one of her friends?" 

"It doesn't matter." 

"Was it my wife?" 



Leahy nodded. "But her friends 
turned in an alarm earlier. I let it 
ride. One way or the other, you'd 
have got it. That was pretty silly, 
quoting poetry around free and 
easy, Montag. Very silly. Come on, 

"I think not," said Montag. 

He twitched the fire-trigger in 
his hand. Leahy glanced at Mon- 
tag's fingers and saw what he in- 
tended before Montag himself had 
even considered it. In that instant, 
Montag was stunned by the thought 
of murder, for murder is always a 
new thing, and Montag knew 
nothing of murder; he knew only 
burning and burning things that 
people said were evil. 

"I know what's really wrong 
with the world," said Montag. 

"Look here, Montag — " cried 

And then he was a shrieking 
blaze, a jumping, sprawling, gib- 
bering thing, all aflame, writhing 
on the grass as Montag shot three 
more blazing pulses of liquid fire 
over him. There was a hissing and 
bubbling like a snail upon which 
salt has been poured. There was a 
sound like spittle on a red-hot 
stove. Montag shut his eyes and 
yelled and tried to get his hands 
to his ears to cut away the sounds. 
Leahy twisted in upon himself like 
a ridiculous black wax doll and lay 

The other two firemen stood ap- 
"Montag !'* 

Montag jerked the weapon at 
them. "Turn around!" 

They turned stiffly. He beat them 
over the heads with the gun shaft; 
he didn't want to burn any other 
thing ever again. They fell. Then 
Montag turned the fire-thrower on 
the fire engine itself, set the trigger, 
and ran. Voices screamed in sev- 
eral houses. The engine blew up, 
hundreds of gallons of kerosene in 
one great flower of heat. 

Montag ran away down the 
street and into an alley, thinking, 
"That's the end of you, Leahy! 
That's the end of you and what 
you were!" 

He kept running. 

HE REMEMBERED the books 
and turned back. 

"You're a fool, a damned fool, 
an awful fool, an idiot, but most of 
all a fool." He stumbled and fell. 
He got up. "You blind idiot, you 
and your pride and your stinking 
temper and your righteousness, 
you've ruined it all, at the very 
start, you fumbler. But those 
women, those stupid women, they 
drove me to it with their non- 
sense!" he protested to himself. 

"A fool, nevertheless, no better 
than they! 

"We'll save what we can. We'll 
do what has to be done. We'll take 
a few more firemen with us if we 
burn !" 

He found the books where he 
had left them, beyond the garden 
fence. He heard voices yelling in 



the night and flashbeams were 
swirling about. Other fire engines 
wailed from far off and police cars 
were arriving. 

Mr Montag took as many books 
as he could carry under one arm 
and staggered down the alley. He 
hadn't realized what a shock the 
evening had been to him, but sud- 
denly he fell and lay sobbing, 
weak, his legs folded, his face in 
the gravel. At a distance he heard 
running feet. Get up, he told him- 
self. But he lay there. Get up, get 
up! But he cried like a child. He 
hadn't wanted to kill anyone, not 
even Leahy. Killing did nothing 
but kill something of yourself 
when you did it, and suddenly he 
saw Leahy again, a torch, scream- 
ing, and he shut his hand over his 
wet face, gagging. "I'm sorry, I'm 

Everything at once. In twenty- 
four hours the burning of a wo- 
man, the burning of books, the trip 

to the professor's, Leahy, the Bible, 
memorizing, the sieve, and the sand, 
the bank money, the printing press, 
the plan, the rage, the alarm, Mil- 
dred's departure, the fire, Leahy 
into a torch — too much for any 
one day in any one life. 

At last he was able to get to his 
feet, but the books seemed impos- 
sibly heavy. He fumbled along the 
alley and the voices and sirens 
faded behind him. He moved in 
darkness, panting. 

"You must remember," he said, 
"that you've got to burn them or 
they'll burn you. Burn them or 
they'll burn you." 

He searched his pockets. The 
money was there. In his shirt pocket 
he found the Seashell radio and 
slapped it to his ear. 

"Attention! Attention, all police 
alert. Special alarm. Wanted: Leon- 
ard Montag, fugitive, for murder 
and crimes against the State. De- 
scription . . ." 



Six blocks away the alley opened 
out onto a wide empty thorough- 
fare. It looked like a clean stage, 
so bored, so quiet, so well lit, and 
him alone, running across it, easily 
seen, easily shot down. 

"Beware of the pedestrian, watch 
for the pedestrian!" The Seashell 
stung his ear. 

Montag hid back in the shadows. 
He must use only the alleys. There 
was a gas station nearby. It might 
give him the slightest extra margin 
of safety if he were clean and pre- 
sentable. He must get to the station 
rest room and wash up, comb his 
hair, then, with books under arm, 
stroll calmly across that wide boule- 
vard to get where he was going. 

"Where am I going?" 

NOWHERE. There was nowhere 
to go, no friend to turn to. 
Faber couldn't take him in; it would 
be murder to even try; but he had 
to see Faber for a minute or two, 

to give him this money. Whatever 
happened, he wanted the money to 
go on after him. Perhaps he could 
make it to open country, Jive on 
the rivers and near highways, in 
the meadows and hills, the sort of 
life he had often thought about but 
never tried. 

Something caught at one corner 
of his vision and he turned to look 
at the sky. 

The police helicopters were ris- 
ing, far away, like a flight of gray 
moths, spreading out, six of them. 
He saw them wavering, indecisive, 
a half mile off, like butterflies 
puzzled by autumn, dying with win- 
ter, and then they were landing, 
one by one, dropping softly to the 
streets where, turned into cars, they 
would shriek along the boulevards 
or, just as suddenly, hop back into 
the air, continuing their search. 

And here was the gas station. Ap- 
proaching from the rear, Mr. Mon- 
tag entered the men's wash room. 



Through the tin wall he heard a 
radio voice crying, "War has been 
declared ! Repeat — war has been de- 
clared! Ten minutes ago — " But 
the sound of washing his hands and 
rinsing his face and toweling him- 
self dry cut the announcer's voice 
away. Emerging from the wash- 
room a cleaner, newer man, less 
suspect, Mr. Montag walked as 
casually as a man looking for a bus, 
to the edge of the empty boule- 

There it lay, a game for him to 
win, a vast bowling alley in the 
dark morning. The boulevard was 
as clean as a pinball machine, but 
underneath, somewhere, one could 
feel the electrical energy, the readi- 
ness to dart lights, flash red and 
blue, and out of nowhere, rolling 
like a silver ball, might thunder the 
searchers! Three blocks away, there 
were a few headlights. Montag 
drew a deep breath. His lungs were 
like burning brooms in his chest; 
his mouth was sucked dry from 
running. All of the iron in the 
world lay in his dragging feet. 

He began to walk across the 
empty avenue. 

A hundred yards across. He esti- 
mated. A hundred yards in the 
open, more than plenty of time for 
a police car to appear, see him, and 
run him down. 

He listened to his own loud foot- 

A car was coming. Its headlights 
leaped and caught Montag in full 
stride. ' 

"Keep going." 

Montag faltered, got a new hold 
on his books, and forced himself 
not to freeze. Nor should he draw 
suspicion to himself by running. 
He was now one-third of the way 
across. There was a growl from the 
car's motor as it put on speed. 

THE police, thought Montag. 
They see me, of course. But 
walk slowly, quietly, don't turn, 
don't look, don't seem concerned. 
Walk, that's it, walk, walk. 

The car was rushing at a terrific 
speed. A good one hundred miles 
an hour. Its horn blared. Its light 
flushed the concrete. The heat of 
the lights, it seemed, burned Mon- 
tag's cheeks and eyelids and brought 
the sweat coursing from his body. 

He began to shuffle idiotically, 
then broke and ran. The horn hoot- 
ed. The motor sound whined 
higher. Montag sprinted. He 
dropped a book, whirled, hesitated, 
left it there, plunged on, yelling to 
himself, in the middle of concrete 
emptiness, the car a hundred feet 
away, closer, closer, hooting, push- 
ing, rolling, screeching, the horn 
hunting, himself running, his legs 
up, down, out, back, his eyes blind 
in the flashing glare, the horn 
nearer, now on top of .him ! 

They'll run me down, they know 
who I am, it's all over, thought 
Montag, it's done! 

He stumbled and fell. 
. An instant before reaching him, 
the wild car swerved around him 



and was gone. Falling had saved 

Mr. Montag lay flat, his head 
down. Wisps of laughter trailed 
back with the blue car exhaust. 

That wasn't the police, thought 
Mr. Montag. 

It was "a earful of high-school 
children, yelling, whistling, hurrah- 
ing. And they had seen a man, a 
pedestrian, a rarity, and they had 
yelled "Let's get him!" They didn't 
know he was the fugitive Mr. Mon- 
tag; they were simply out for a 
night of roaring five hundred miles 
in a few moonlit hours, their faces 
icy with wind. 

"They would have killed me," 
whispered Montag to the shaking 
concrete under his bruised cheek. 
"For no reason at all in the world, 
they would have killed me." 

He got up and walked unstead- 
ily to the far curb. Somehow, he 
had remembered to pick up the 
spilled books. He shuffled them, 
oddly, in his numb hands. 

"I wonder if they were the ones 
who killed Clarisse." 

His eyes watered. 

The thing that had saved him 
was falling flat. The driver of that 
car, seeing Montag prone, consid- 
ered the possibility that running 
over a body at one hundred miles 
an hour might turn the car over 
and spill them all out. Now, if 
Montag had remained upright, 
things would have been far differ- 
ent .. . 

Montag gasped. Far down the 

empty avenue, four blocks away, the 
car of laughing children had 
turned. Now it was racing back, 
picking up speed. 

Montag dodged into an alley and 
was gone in the shadow long be- 
fore the car returned. 

THE house was silent. 
Mr. Montag approached it 
from the back, creeping through the 
scent of daffodils and roses and 
wet grass. He touched the screen 
door, found it open, slipped in, tip- 
toed across the porch, and, behind 
the refrigerator in the kitchen, de- 
posited three of the books. He 
waited, listening to the house. 

"Mrs. Black, are you asleep up 
there?" he asked of the second 
floor in a whisper. "I hate to do 
this to you, but your husband did 
just as bad to others, never asking, 
never wondering, never worrying. 
You're a fireman's wife, Mrs. Black, 
and now it's your house, and you 
will be in jail a while, for all the 
houses your husband has burned 
and people he's killed." 

The ceiling did not reply. 

Quietly, Montag slipped from the 
house and returned to the alley. The 
house was still dark; no one had 
heard him come or go. 

He walked casually down the 
alley, and came to an all-night, 
dimly lighted phone booth. He 
closed himself in the booth and 
dialed a number. 

"I want to report an illegal own- 
. ership of books," he said. 



The voice sharpened on the other 
end. "The address?" 

He gave it and added, "Better 
get there before they burn them. 
Check the kitchen." 

Montag stepped out and stood 
in the cold night air, waiting. At a 
great distance he heard the fire 
sirens coming, coming to burn Mr. 
Black's house while he was away 
at work, and make his wife stand 
shivering in the morning air while 
the .roof dropped down. But now 
she was upstairs, deep in sleep. 

"Good night, Mrs. Black," said 
Mr. Montag. "You'll excuse me — 
I have several other visits to make." 

A RAP at the door. 
"Professor Faber!" 

Another rap and a long waiting. 
Then, from within, lights flickered 
on about the small house. After 
another pause, the front door 

"Who is it?" Faber cried, for 
the man who staggered in was in 
the dark for a moment and then 
rushing past. "Oh, Montag!" 

"I'm going away," said Montag, 
stumbling to a chair. "I've been a 

Professor Faber stood at the door 
listening to the distant sirens wail- 
ing off like animals in the morn- 
ing. "Someone's been busy." 

"It worked." 

"At least you were a fool about 
the right things." Faber shut the 
door, came back, and poured a 
drink for each of them. "I won- 

dered what had happened to you." 

"I was delayed." Montag patted 
his inside pocket. "The money's 
here." He took it out and laid it on 
the desk, then sat tiredly sipping 
his drink. "How do you feel?" 

"This is the first night in many 
years I've fallen right to sleep," 
said Faber. "That must mean I'm 
doing the right thing. I think we 
can trust me now. Once, I didn't 
think so." 

"People never trust themselves, 
but they never let others know. I 
suppose that's why we do rash 
things, expose ourselves in posi- 
tions from which we don't dare 
retreat. Unconsciously, we fear we 
might give in, quit the fight, and 
so we do a foolish thing, like read- 
ing poetry to women." Montag 
laughed at himself. "So I guess I'm 
on the run. It'll be up to you to 
keep things moving." 

"I'll do my damnedest." Faber 
sat down. "Tell me about it. What 
you did just now, I mean." 

"I hid my remaining books in 
four firemen's homes. Then I tele- 
phoned an alarm. I figured I might 
be dead by morning, and I wanted 
to have done something before 

"God, I'd like to've been there." 

"Yes, the places burned very 

"Where are you going now?" 

"I don't know." 

"Try the factory section, follow 
the old rail lines, look up some of 
the hobo camps. I didn't tell you 



this before — maybe I didn't quite 
trust you yet, I don't know — but 
they were in touch with' me last 
year, wanting me to go underground 
with them." 

"With tramps?" 

"There are a lot of Harvard de- 
grees on the tracks between here 
and Los Angeles. What else can 
they do? Most of them are wanted 
and hunted in cities. They survive. 
I don't think they have a plan for 
a revolution, though; I never heard 
them speak of it. They simply sit by 
their fires. Not a very lively group. 
But they might hide you now." 

"I'll try. I'm heading for the 
river, I think, then the old factory 
district. I'll keep in touch with 

"In Boston, then. I'm leaving on 
the three o'clock train tonight — or, 
rather, this morning. That's not 
long from now. There's a retired 
printer in Boston that I want to 
see with this money." 

"I'll contact you there," said 
Montag. "And get books from you 
when I need them, to plant in fire- 
men's houses across the country." 

MONTAG drained his drink. 
"Do you want to sleep here 
a while?" Faber asked. 

"I'd better get going. I wouldn't 
want you held responsible." 

"Let's check." Faber switched on 
the televisor. A voice was talking 

" — this evening. Montag has 
escaped, but we expect his arrest 

in 24 hours. Here's a bulletin. The 
Electric Dog is being transported 
here from Green Town — " 

Montag and Faber glanced at 
each other. 

" — You may recall the interviews 
recently on t-v concerning this in- 
credible new invention, a machine 
so delicate in sense perception that 
it can follow trails much as blood- 
hounds did for centuries. But this 
machine, without fail, always finds 
its quarry!" 

Montag put his empty glass 
down and he was cold. 

"The machine is self-operating, 
weighs only forty pounds, is pro- 
pelled on seven rubber wheels. The 
front is a nose, which in reality is 
a thousand noses, so sensitive that 
they can distinguish 10,000 food 
combinations, 5,000 flower smells, 
and remember identity index odors 
of 15,000 men without the bother 
of resetting." 

Faber began to tremble. He 
looked at his house, at the door, 
the floor, the chair in which Mon- 
tag sat. Montag interpreted this 
look. They both stared together at ' 
the invisible trail of his footprints 
leading to this house, the odor of 
his hand on the brass doorknobs, 
the smell of his body in the air and 
on this chair. 

"The Electric Hound is now 
landing, by helicopter, at the burned 
Montag home. We take you there 
by t-v control!" 

So they must have a game, 
thought Montag. In the midst of a 



time of war, they must play the 
game out. 

There was the burned house, the 
crowd, and something with a sheet 
over it, Mr. Leahy — yes, Mr. 
Leahy — and out of the sky, flutter- 
ing, came the red helicopter, land- 
ing like a grotesque and menacing 

Montag watched the scene with 
a solid fascination, not wanting to 
move, ever. If he wished, he could 
linger here, in comfort, and follow 
the entire hunt on through its quick 
phases, down alleys, up streets, 
across empty running avenues, with 
the sky finally lightening with 
dawn, up other alleys to burned 
houses, and so on to this place here, 
this house, with Faber and him- 
self seated at their leisure, smoking 
idly, drinking good wine, while the 
Electric Hound sniffed down the 
fatal paths, whirring and pausing 
with finality right outside that door 

Then, if he wished, Montag 
could rise, walk to the door, keep 
one eye on the t-v screen, open the 
door, look out, look back, and see 
himself, dramatized, described, 
made over, standing there, limned 
in the bright television screen, from 
outside, a drama to be watched ob- 
jectively, and he would catch him- 
self, an instant before oblivion, 
being killed for the benefit of a 
million televiewers who had been 
wakened from their sleeps a few 
minutes ago by the frantic beep- 
beeping of their receivers to watch 

the big game, the big hunt, the 
Scoop ! 

"There it is," whispered Faber, 

OUT of the helicopter glided 
something that was not a ma- 
chine, not an animal, not dead, not 
alive, just gliding. It glowed with 
a green phosphorescence, and dt 
was on a long leash. Behind it came 
a man, dressed lightly, with ear- 
phones on his shaven head. 

"I can't stay here." Montag 
leaped up, his eyes still fixed to the 
scene. The Electric Hound shot for- 
ward to the smoking ruins, the man 
running after it. A coat was brought 
forward. Montag recognized it as 
his own, dropped in the yard dur- 
ing flight. The Electric Hound 
studied it for only a moment. There 
was a whirring and clicking of dials 
and meters. 

"You can't escape." Faber 
mourned over it, turning away. 
"I've heard about that damned 
monster. No one has ever escaped." 

"I'll try, anyway. I'm sorry about 
this, Professor." 

"About me? About my house? 
Don't be. I'm the one to be sorry 
I didn't act years ago. Whatever I 
get out of this, I deserve. You run, 
now; perhaps I can delay them here 
somehow — " 

"Wait a minute." Montag moved 
forward. "There's no use your be- 
ing discovered. We can erase the 
trail here. First the chair. Get me 
a knife." 



Faber ran and fetched a knife. 
With it, Montag attacked the chair 
where he had sat. He cut the up- 
holstery free, then shoved it, bit 
by bit, without touching the lid, 
into the wall incinerator. , "Now," 
he said, "after I leave, rip up the 
carpet. It has my footprints on it. 
Cut it up, burn it, air the house. 
Rub the doorknobs with alcohol. 
After I go, turn your garden sprink- 
ler on full. That'll wash away the 
sidewalk traces." 

Faber shook his hand vigorously. 
"You don't know what this means. 
I'll do anything to help you in the 
future. Get in touch with me in 
Boston, then." 

"One more thing. A suitcase, 
Get it, fill it with your dirty laun- 
dry, an old suit, the dirtier the 
better, denim pants maybe, a shirt, 
some old sneakers and socks." 

Faber was gone and back in a 
minute. Montag sealed the full suit- 
case with scotch tape. "To keep 
the odor in," he said, breathlessly. 
He poured a liberal amount of 
cognac over the exterior of the case. 
"I don't want that Hound picking 
up two odors at once. Mind if I 
take this bottle of whisky? I'll need 
it later. When I get to the river, 
I'll change clothes." 

"And identities; from Montag to 

"Christ, I hope it works! If your 
clothes smell strong enough, which 
God knows they seem to, we might 
confuse the Hound, anyway." 

"Good luck." 

They shook hands again and 
glanced at the t-v. The Electric 
Hound was on its way, followed by 
mobile camera units, through alleys, 
across empty morning streets, si- 
lently, silently, sniffing the great 
night wind for Mr. Leonard Mon- 

"Be seeing you!" 

And Montag was out the door, 
running lightly, with the half 
empty case. Behind him, he saw and 
felt and heard the garden sprinkler 
system jump up, filling the dark 
air with synthetic rain to wash away 
the smell of Montag. Through the 
back window, the last thing he saw 
of Faber was the older man ripping 
up the carpet and cramming it in 
the wall incinerator. 

Montag ran. 

Behind him, in the night city, 
the Electric Hound followed. 

HE STOPPED now and again, 
panting, across town, to watch 
through the dimly lighted windows 
of wakened houses. He peered in at 
silhouettes before television screens 
and there on the screens saw where 
the Electric Hound was, now at Elm 
Terrace, now at Lincoln Avenue, 
now at 34th, now up the alley to- 
ward Mr. Faber's, now at Faber's! 

"No, no!" thought Montag. "Go 
on past! Don't turn in, don't!" 

He held his breath. 

The Electric Hound hesitated, 
then plunged on, leaving Faber's 
house behind. For a moment the 
t-v camera scanned Faber's home. 



The windows were dark. In the 
garden, the water sprinkled the 
cool air, softly. 

THE Electric Hound raced ahead, 
down the alley. 

"Good going, Professor." And 
Montag was gone, again, racing to- 
ward the distant river, stopping at 
other houses to see the game on 
the t-v sets, the long running game, 
and the Hound drawing near be- 
hind. "Only a mile away now!" 

As he ran he had the Seashell at 
his ear and a voice ran with every 
step, with the beat of his heart and 
the sound of his shoes on gravel. 
"Watch for the pedestrian ! Look 
for the pedestrian ! Anyone on the 
sidewalks or in the street, walking 
or running, is suspect ! Watch for 
the pedestrian!" 

How simple in a city where no 
one walked. Look, look for the 
walking man, the man who proves 
his legs. Thank God for good dark 
alleys where men could run in 
peace. House lights flashed on all 
about. Montag saw faces peering 
streetward as he passed behind 
them, faces hid by curtains, pale, 
night-frightened faces, like odd ani- 
mals peering from electric caves, 
faces with gray eyes and gray 
minds, and he plunged ahead, leav- 
ing them to their tasks, and in an- 
other minute was at the black, 
moving river. 

He found what he was looking 
for after five minutes of running 
along the bank. It was a rowboat 

drawn and staked to the sand. He 
took possession. 

The boat slid easily on the long 
silence of river and went away 
downstream from the city, bobbing 
and whispering, while Montag 
stripped in darkness down to the 
skin, and splashed his body, his 
arms, his legs, his face with raw 
liquor. Then he changed into 
Faber's old clothing and shoes. He 
tossed his own clothing into the 
river with the suitcase. 

He sat watching the dark shore. 
There would be a delay while the 
pursuit rode the Electric Hound up 
and down stream to see where a 
man named Montag had stepped 

Whether or not the smell of 
Faber would be strong enough, 
with the aid of the alcohol, was 
something else again. He pulled 
out a handkerchief he had saved 
over, doused it with the remainder 
of the liquor. He must hold this 
over his mouth when stepping 

The particles of his breathing 
might remain in an electronically 
detectable invisible cloud for hours 
after he had passed on. 

He couldn't wait any longer. He 
was below the town now, in a lone- 
ly place of weeds and old railway 
tracks. He rowed the boat toward 
shore, tied the handkerchief over his 
face, and leaped out as the boat 
touched briefly. 

The current swept the boat 
away, turning slowly. 



"Farewell to Mr. Montag," he 
said. "Hello, Mr. Faber." 
He went into the woods. 

HE FOUND his way along rail- 
road tracks that had not been 
used in years, crusted with brown 
rust and overgrown with weeds. He 
listened to his feet moving in the 
long grass. He paused now and 
then, checking behind to see if he 
was followed, but was not. 

Firelight shone far ahead. "One 
of the camps," thought Montag. 
"One of the places where the hobo 
intellectuals cook their meals and 
talk!" It was unbelievable. 

Half an hour later he came out 
of the weeds and the forest into 
the half light of the fire, for only 
a moment, then he hid back and 
waited, watching the group of seven 
men, holding their hands to the 
small blaze, murmuring. To their 
right, a quarter mile away, was the 
river. Up the stream a mile, and 
still apparent in the dark, was the 
city, and no sound except the voices 
and the fire crackling. 

Montag waited ten minutes in 
the shadows. Finally a voice called: 
"All right, you can come out now." 

He shrank back. 

"It's okay," said the voice. 
"You're welcome here." 

He let himself stand forth and 
then he walked tiredly toward the 
fire, peering at the men and their 
dirty clothing. 

"We're not very elegant," said 
the man who seemed to be the 

leader of the little group. "Sit 
down. Have some coffee." 

He watched the dark steaming 
mixture poured into a collapsible 
cup which was handed him straight 
off. He sipped it gingerly. He felt 
the scald on his lips. The men were 
watching him. Their faces were un- 
shaved but their beards were much 
too neat, and their, hands were 
clean. They had stood up, as if to 
welcome a guest, and now they sat 
down again. Montag sipped. 
"Thanks," he said. 

The leader said, "My name is 
Granger, as good a name as any. 
You don't have to tell us your name 
at all." He remembered something. 
"Here, before you finish the coffee, 
better take this." He held out a 
small bottle of colorless fluid. 

"What is it?" 

"Drink it. Whoever you are, you 
wouldn't be here unless you were 
in trouble. Either that, or you're a 
Government spy, in which case we 
are only a bunch of men traveling 
nowhere and hurting no one. In 
any event, whoever you are, an hour 
after you've drunk this fluid, you'll 
be someone else. It does something 
to the perspiratory system — changes 
the sweat content. If you want to 
stay here you'll have to drink it, 
otherwise you'll have to move on. 
If there's a Hound after you, you'd 
be bad company." 

"I think I took care of the 
Hound," said Montag, and drank 
the tasteless stuff. The fluid stung 
his throat. He was sick for a mo- 



ment; there was a blackness in his 
eyes, and a roaring in his head. 
Then it passed. 

"rpHAT'S better, Mr. Montag," 

-L said Granger, and snorted at 
his social error. "I beg your par- 
don — -" He poked his thumb at a 
small portable t-v beyond the fire. 
"We've been watching. They vi- 
Jeoed a picture of you, not a very 
good resemblance. We hoped you'd 
head this way." 

"It's been quite a chase." 

"Yes." Granger snapped the t-v 
on. It was no bigger than a hand- 
bag, weighing some seven pounds, 
mostly screen. A voice from the set 

"The chase is now veering south 
along the river. On the eastern 
shore the police helicopters are 
converging on Avenue 87 and Elm 
Grove Park." 

"You're safe," said Granger. 
"They're faking. You threw them 
off at the river, but they can't ad- 
mit it. Must be a million people 
watching that bunch of scoundrels 
hound after you. They'll catch you 
in five minutes." 

"But if they're ten miles away, 
how can they . . .?" 


He made the t-v picture brighter. 

"Up that street there, somewhere, 
right now, out for an early morning 
walk. A rarity, an odd one. Don't 
think the police don't know the 
habits of queer ducks like that, men 
who walk early in the morning just 

for the hell of it. Anyway, up that 
street the police know that every 
morning a certain man walks alone, 
for the air, to smoke. Call him 
Billings or Brown or Baumgartner, 
but the search is getting nearer to 
him every minute. See?" 

In the video screen, a man 
turned a corner. The Electric 
Hound rushed forward, screeching. 
The police converged upon the 

The t-v voice cried, "There's 
Montag now"! The search is over!" 

The innocent man stood watch- 
ing the crowd come on. In his hand 
was a cigaret, half smoked. He 
looked at the Hound and his jaw 
dropped and he started to say some- 
thing when a godlike voice boomed, 
"All right, - Montag, don't move! 
We've got you, Montag!" 

By the small fire, with seven 
other men, Mr. Montag sat, ten 
miles removed, the light of the 
video screen on his face. 

"Don't run, Montag!" 

The man turned, bewildered. 
The crowd roared. The Hound 
leaped up. 

"The poor son of a bitch" said 
Granger, bitterly. 

A dozen shots rattled out. The 
man crumpled. 

"Montag is dead, the search is 
over, a criminal is given his due," 
said the announcer. 

The camera trucked forward. 
Just before it showed the dead 
man's face, however, the screen 
went black. 



"We now switch you to the Sky 
Room of the Hotel Lux in San 
Francisco for a half hour of dawn 
dance music by — " 

GRANGER turned it off. "They 
didn't show the man's face, 
naturally. Better if everyone thinks 
it's Montag." 

Montag said nothing, but simply 
looked at the blank screen. He could 
not move or speak. 

Granger put out his hand. "Wel- 
come back from the dead, Mr. 
Montag." Montag took the hand, 
numbly. The man said, "My real 
name is Clement, former occupant 
of the T. S. Eliot Chair at Cam- 
bridge. That was before it became 
an Electrical Engineering School. 
This gentleman here is Dr. Sim- 
mons from U.C.L.A." 

"I don't belong here," said Mon- 
tag, at last, slowly. "I've been an 
idiot, all the way down the line, 
bungled and messed and tripped 
myself up." 

"Anger makes idiots of us all, 
I'm afraid. You can only be angry 
so long, then you explode and do 
the wrong things. It can't be helped 

"I shouldn't have come here. It 
might endanger you." 

"We're used to that. We all 
make mistakes, or we wouldn't be 
here ourselves. When we were sep- 
arate individuals, all we had was 
rage. I struck a fireman in the face, 
once. He'd come to burn my library 
back about forty years ago. I had 

to run. I've been running ever 
since. And Simmons here . . ." 

"I quoted Donne in the midst 
of a genetics class one afternoon. 
For no reason at all. Just started 
quoting Donne. You see ? Fools, all 
of us." 

They glanced at the fire, self- 

"So you want to join us, Mr. 


"What have you to offer?" 

"Nothing. I thought I had the 
Book of Job, but I haven't even 
got that now." 

"The Book of Job would do very 
well. Where was it?" 

"Here." Montag touched his 

"Ah," said Granger-Clement. He 
smiled and nodded. 

"What's wrong? Isn't that all 
right?" said Montag. 

"Better than all right — perfect! 
Mr. Montag, you have hit upon the 
secret of, if you want to give it a 
term, our organization. Living 
books, Mr. Montag, living books. 
Inside the old skull where no one 
can see." He turned to Simmons. 
"Do we have a Book of Job?" 

"Only one. A man named Harris 
in Youngstown." 

"Mr. Montag." The man grasped 
Montag's shoulder firmly. "Walk 
slowly, be careful, take your health 
seriously. If anything should hap- 
pen to Harris, you are the Book of 
Tob. Do you see how important you 



"But I've forgotten it!" 

"Nonsense, nothing is ever for- 
gotten. Mislaid, perhaps, but not 
forgotten. We have ways, several 
new methods of hypnosis, to shake 
down the clinkers there. You'll re- 
member, don't fear." 

"I've been trying to remember." 

"Don't try. Relax. It'll come 
when we need it. Some people are 
quick studies but don't know it. 
Some of God's simplest creatures 
have the ability called eidetic or 
photographic memory, the ability 
to memorize entire pages of print 
at a glance. It has nothing to do 
with I.Q. No offense, Montag. It 
varies. Would you like, one day, to 
read Plato's Republic?" 

"Of course." 

Granger nodded to a man who 
had been sitting to one side. 

"Mr. Plato, if you please." 

THE man began to talk. He 
looked at Montag idly, his 
hands filling a corncob pipe, un- 
aware of the words tumbling from 
his lips. He talked for two minutes 
without a- pause or stumble. 

Granger made the smallest move 

of his fingers. The man cut off. 

"Perfect word-for-word memory, 

every word important, every word 

Plato's," said Granger. 

"And," said the man who was 
Plato, "I don't understand a 
damned word of it. I just say it. 
It's up to you to understand." 

"Don't you understand any of 
it?" asked Montag. 

"None of it. But I can't get it 
out. Once it's in, it's like solidified 
glue in a bottle, there for good. Mr. 
Granger says it's important. That's 
good enough for me." 

"We're old friends," said Gran- 
ger. "We hadn't seen each other 
since we were boys. We met a few 
years ago on that track, somewhere 
between here and Seattle, walking, 
me running away from firemen, he 
running from cities." 

"Never liked cities," said the one 
who was Plato. "Always felt that 
cities owned men, that was all, and 
used men to keep themselves going, 
to keep machines oiled and dusted. 
So I got out. And then I met 
Granger and he found out that I 
had this eidetic memory, as he calls 
it, and he gave me a book to read 
and then we burned the book our- 
selves so we wouldn't be caught 
with it. And now I'm Plato; that's 
what I am." 

"He is also Socrates." 

The man nodded. 

"And Schopenhauer." 

Another nod. 

"And John Dewey." 

"All that in one bottle. You 
wouldn't think there was room. But 
I can open my head like a concer- 
tina and play it. There's plenty of 
room if you don't try to think about 
what you've memorized. It's when 
you start thinking that all of a 
sudden it's crowded. I don't think 
about anything except eating, sleep- 
ing, and traveling. I let you people 
do the thinking when you hear what 



I recite. Oh, there's plenty of 
room, believe me." 

"So here we are, Mr. Montag. 
Mr. Simmons is really Mr. John 
Donne and Mr. Charles Darwin 
and Mr. Aristophanes. These other 
gentlemen are Matthew, Mark, 
Luke, and John. And / am Ruth." 

Everyone laughed quietly. 

"You see, we are not without 
humor in this melancholy age. I'm 
also bits and pieces, Mr. Montag, 
snatches of Byron and Shelley and 
Shaw and Washington Irving and 
Shakespeare. I'm one of those 
kaleidoscopes. Hold me up to the 
sun, give a shake, watch the pat- 
terns. And you are Mr. Job, and 
in half an hour or less, a war will 
begin. While those people in that 
anthill across the river have been 
busy chasing Montag, as if he were 
the cause of all their nervous 
anxiety and frustration, the war has 
been getting under way. By this 
time tomorrow the world will be- 
long to the little green towns and 
the rusted railroad tracks and the 
men walking on them; that's us. 
The cities will be soot and baking 

THE t-v rang a bell. Granger 
switched it on. 
"Final negotiations are arranged 
for a conference today with the 
enemy government — •" 
Granger snapped it off. 
"Well, what do you think, Mon- 

"I think I was pretty blind and 

ferocious trying to go at it the way 
I did, planting books and calling 

"You did what you thought you 
had to do. But our way is simpler 
and better and the thing we wish 
to do is keep the knowledge intact 
and safe and not to excite or anger 
anyone; for then, if we are de- 
stroyed, the knowledge is most cer- 
tainly dead. We are model citizens 
in our own special way — we walk 
the tracks, we lie in the hills at 
night, we bother no one, and the 
city people let us be. We're stopped 
and searched for books, occasion- 
ally, but we have none, and our 
faces have been changed by plastic 
surgery, as have our fingerprints. So 
we wait quietly for the day when 
the machines are dented junk and 
then we hope to walk by and say. 
'Here we are,' to those who survive 
this war, and we'll say, 'Have you 
come to your senses now? Perhaps 
a few books will do you some 
good.' " 

"But will they listen to you?" 
"Perhaps not. Then we'll have to 
wait some more. Maybe a few hun- 
dred years. Maybe they'll never lis 
ten; we can't make them. So we'll 
pass the books on to our children, 
in their minds, and let them wait, 
in turn, on other people. Some day 
someone will need us. This can't 
last forever." 

"How many of you are there?" 

"Thousands on the road, on the 

rails, bums on the outside, libraries 

on the inside. It wasn't really 



planned; it grew. Each man had a 
book he wanted to remember and 
did. Then we discovered each 
other and over twenty years or so 
got a loose network together and 
made a plan. The important thing 
we had to learn was that we were 
not important, we were not to be 
pedants, we were not to feel su- 
perior, we were nothing more than 
covers for books, of no individual 
significance whatever. Some of us 
live in small towns- — chapter one of 
Walden in Nantucket, chapter two 
in Reading, chapter three in Wau- 
kesha, each according to his ability. 
Some can learn a few lines, some a 

"The books are safe then." 

"Couldn't be safer. Why, there's 
one village in North Carolina, some 
200 people, no bomb'll ever touch 
their town, which is the complete 
Meditations of Marcus Aurelius. 
You could pick up that town, al- 
most, and flip the pages, a page to 
a person. People who wouldn't 
dream of being seen with a book 
gladly memorized a page. You can't 
be caught with that. And when the 
war's over and we've time and need, 
the books can be written again. The 
people will be called in one by one 
to recite what they know and it'll 
be in print again until another Dark 
Age, when maybe we'll have to do 
the whole damned thing over again, 
man being the fool he is." 

"What do we do tonight?" asked 

"Just wait, that's all." 

MONTAG looked at the men's 
faces, old, all of them, in the 
firelight, and certainly tired. Per- 
haps he was looking for a bright- 
ness, a resolve, a triumph over to- 
morrow that' wasn't really there. 
Perhaps he expected these men to 
be proud with the knowledge they 
carried, to glow with the wisdom 
as lanterns glow with the fire they 

But all the light came from the 
campfire here, and these men 
seemed no different than any other 
man who has run a long run, 
searched a long search, seen pre- 
cious things destroyed, seen old 
friends die, and now, very late in 
time, were gathered together to 
watch the machines die, or hope 
they might die, even while cherish- 
ing a last paradoxical love for those 
very machines which could spin 
out a material with happiness in the 
warp and terror in the woof, so 
interblended that a man might go 
insane trying to tell the design to 
himself, and his place in it. 

They weren't at all certain that 
what they carried in their heads 
might make every future dawn 
dawn brighter. They were sure of 
nothing save that the books were 
on file behind their solemn eyes and 
that if man put his mind to them 
properly, something of dignity and 
happiness might be regained. 

Montag looked from one face to 

"Don't judge a book by its 
cover," said someone. 



A soft laughter moved among 

Montag turned to look at the city 
across the river. 

"My wife's in that city now," he 

"I'm sorry to hear that." 

"Look," said Simmons. 

Montag glanced up. 

The bombardment was finished 
and over, even while the seeds were 
in the windy sky. The bombs were 
there, the jet-planes were there, for 
the merest trifle of an instant, like 
grain thrown across the heavens by 
a great hand, and the bombs drifted 
with a dreadful slowness down 
upon the morning city where all of 
the people looked up at their des- 
tiny coming upon them like the lid 
of a dream shutting tight and be- 
come an instant later a red and 
powdery nightmare. 

The bombardment to all military 
purposes was finished. Once the 
planes had sighted their target, 
alerted their bombardier at five 
thousand miles an hour, as quick 
as the whisper of a knife through 
the sky, the war was finished. Once 
the trigger was pulled, once the 
bombs took flight, it was over. 

Now, a full three seconds, all of 
the time in history, before the 
bombs struck, the enemy ships 
themselves were gone, half around 
the visible world, it seemed, like 
bullets in which an island savage 
might not believe because they were 
unseen, yet the heart is struck sud- 
denly, the body falls into separate 

divisions, the blood is astounded to 
be free on the air, and the brain 
gives up all its precious memories 
and, still puzzled, dies. 

THIS war was not to be believed. 
It was merely a gesture. It was 
the flirt of a great metal hand over 
the city and a voice saying, "Dis- 
integrate. Leave no stone upon an- 
other. Perish. Die." 

Montag held the bombs in the 
sky for a precious moment, with his 
mind and his hands. "Run!" he 
cried to Faber. To Clarisse, "Run!" 
To Mildred, "Get out, get out of 
there!" But Clarisse, he remem-. 
bered, was dead. And Faber was 
out; there, in the deep valleys of 
the country, went the dawn train 
on its way from one desolation to 
another. Though the desolation had 
not yet arrived, was still in the air, 
it was as certain as man could make 
it. Before the train had gone an- 
other fifty yards on the track, its 
destination would be meaningless, 
its point of departure made from 
a metropolis into a junkyard. 

And Mildred! 

"Get out, run!" he thought. 

He could see Mildred in that 
metropolis now, in the half second 
remaining, as the bombs were per- 
haps three inches, three small inches 
shy of her hotel building. He could 
see her leaning into the t-v set as if 
all of the hunger of looking would 
find the secret of her sleepless un- 
ease there. Mildred, leaning anx- 
iously, nervously, into that tubular 



world as info a crystal ball to find 

The first bomb struck. 

"Mildred I" 

Perhaps the television station 
went first into oblivion. 

Montag saw the screen go dark 
in Mildred's face, and heard her 
screaming, because in the next mil- 
lionth part of time left, she would 
see her own face reflected there, 
hungry and alone, in a mirror in- 
stead of a crystal ball, and it would 
be such a wildly empty face that 
she would at last recognize it, and 
stare at the ceiling almost with 
welcome as it and the entire struc- 
ture of the hotel blasted down upon 
her, carrying her with a million 

now," thought 
we first met. It 
Yes, now I re- 

pounds of brick, metal and people 
down into the cellar, there to dis- 
pose of them in its unreasonable 

"I remember 
Montag, "where 
was in Chicago, 

Montag found himself on his 
face. The concussion had knocked 
the air across the river, turned the 
men down like dominoes in a line, 
blown out the fire like a last candle, 
and caused the trees to mourn with 
a great voice of wind passing away 

Montag lay with his face toward 
the city. Now it, instead of the 
bombs, was in the air. They had 



displaced each other. For another 
of those impossible instants the city 
stood, rebuilt and unrecognizable, 
taller than it had ever hoped or 
strived to be, taller than man had 
built it, erected at last in gouts of 
dust and sparkles of torn metal into 
a city not unlike a reversed aval- 
anche, formed of flame and steel 
and stone,' a door where a window 
ought to be, a top for a bottom, a 
side for a back, and then the city 
rolled over and fell. 

The sound of its death came 



member another thing. Now I re- 
member the Book of Job." He said 
it over to himself, lying tight to 
the earth; he said the words of it 
many times and they were perfect 
without trying. "Now I remember 
the book of Job. Now I do remem- 
ber . . ." 

"There," said a voice, Granger's 

The men lay like gasping fish on 
the grass. 

They did not get up for a long 
time, but held to the earth as chil- 
dren hold to a familiar thing, no 
matter how cold or dead, no matter . 
what has happened or will happen. 
Their fingers were clawed into the 
soil, and they were all shouting to 
keep their ears in balance and open, 
Montag shouting with them, a pro- 
test against the wind that swept 
them, shaking their hair, tearing at 
their lips, making their noses 

Montag watched the blood drip 
into the earth with such an absorp- 
tion that the city was effortlessly 

The wind died. 

The city was flat, as if one had 
taken a heaping tablespoon of flour 
and passed a finger over it, smooth- 
ing it to an even level. 

The men said nothing. They lay 
a while like people on the dawn 
edge of sleep, not yet ready to arise 
and begin the day's obligations, its 
fires and foods, its thousand details 
of putting foot after foot, hand 
after hand, its deliveries and func- 

tions and minute obsessions. They 
lay blinking their stunned eyelids. 
You could hear them breathing 
fast, then slower, then with the 
slowness of normality. 

Montag sat up. He did not move 
any farther, however. The other 
men did likewise. The sun was 
touching the black horizon with a 
faint red tip. The air was cool and 
sweet and smelled of rain. In a few 
minutes it would smell of dust and 
pulverized iron, but now it was 

And across the world, thought 
Montag, the cities of the other na- 
tions are dead, too, almost in the 
same instant. 

Silently, the leader of the small 
group, Granger, arose, felt of his 
arms and legs, touched his face to 
see if everything was in its place, 
then shuffled over to the blown- 
out fire and bent over it. Montag 

Everyone watched. 

Striking a match, Granger 
touched it to a piece of paper and 
shoved this under a bit of kindling, 
and shoved together bits of straw 
and dry wood, and after a while, 
drawing the men slowly, awkward- 
ly to it by its glow, the fire licked 
up, coloring their faces pink and 
yellow, while the sun rose slowly 
to color their backs. 

THERE was no sound except the 
low and secret talk of men at 
morning, and the talk was no more 
than this: 



"How many strips?" 

"Two each." 

"Good enough." 

The bacon was counted out on a 
wax paper. The frying pan was set 
to the fire and the bacon laid in it. 
After a moment it began to flutter 
and dance in the pan and the sput- 
ter of it filled the morning air with 
its aroma. Eggs were cracked in 
upon the bacon and ,the men 
watched this ritual, for the leader 
was a participant, as were they, in 
a religion of early rising, a thing 
man had done for many centuries, 
thought Montag, a thing man had 
done over and over again, and Mon- 
tag felt at ease among them, as if 
during the long night the walls of 
a great prison had vaporized 
around them and they were on the 
land again and only the birds sang 
on or off as they pleased, with no 
schedule, and with no nagging hu- 
man insistence. 

"Here," said Granger, dishing 
out the bacon and eggs to each 
from the hot pan. They each held 
out the scratched tin plates that had 
been passed around. 

Then, without looking up, 
breaking more eggs into the pan- for 
himself, Granger slowly and with 
a concern both for what he said, re- 
calling it, rounding it, and for 
making the food also, began to re- 
cite snatches and rhythms, even 
while the day brightened all about 
as if a pink lamp had been given 
more wick, and Montag listened 
and they all looked at the tin plates 

in their hands, waiting a moment 
for the eggs to cool, while the lead- 
er started the routine, and others 
took it up, here or there, round 

WHEN it was Montag's turn, 
he spoke, too: 

"To everything there is a season, 
And a time to every purpose under 

the heaven . . > . 
A time to be born, and a time to 

die . . . 
A time to kill, and a time to 

heal . . ." 

The forks moved in the pink 
light. Now each of the men re- 
membered a separate and different 
thing, a bit of poetry, a line from 
a play, an old song. And they spoke 
these little bits and pieces in the 
early morning air: 

"Man that is born of a woman 
Is of few days and full of 
trouble . . ." 

A wind blew in the trees. 

"To be or not to be, that is the 
question . . ." 

The sun was fully up. 

"Oh, do you remember, Sweet 
Alice, Ben Bolt . . .?" 

Montag felt fine. 




• • 

and it 


NO, YOU'RE wrong. I'm 
not your father's ghost, 
even if I do look a bit 
like him. But it's a longish story, 
and you might as well let me in. 
You will, you know, so why 
quibble about it? At least, you al- 

ways have ... or do ... or will. 
I don't know, verbs get all mixed 
up. We don't have the right atti- 
tude toward tenses for a situation 
like this. 

Anyhow, you'll let me in. I did, 
so you will. 



comes out here 

Illustrated by DON SIBLEY 

There is one fact no sane man can quarrel with 
...everything has a beginning and an end. But 
some men aren't sane; thus it isn't always so! 

Thanks. You think you're crazy, 
of course, but you'll find out you 
aren't. It's just that things are a bit 
confused. And don't look at the 
machine out there too long — until 
you get used to it, you'll find it's 
hard on the eyes, trying to follow 
where the vanes go. You'll get 
used to it, of course, but it will 
take about thirty years. 

You're wondering whether to 
give me a drink, as I remember it. 
Why not? And naturally, since we 
have the same tastes, you can make 
the same for me as you're having. 
Of course we have the same tastes 
— we're the same person. I'm you 

thirty years from now, or you're 
me. I remember just how you feel; 
I felt the same way when he — 
that is,' of course, I or we— came 
back to tell me about it, thirty years 

Here, have one of these. You'll 
get to like them in a couple more 
years. And you can look at the 
revenue stamp date, if you still 
doubt my story. You'll believe it 
eventually, though, so it doesn't 

Right now, you're shocked. It's 
a real wrench when a man meets 
himself for the first time. Some 
kind of telepathy seems to work 



between two of the same people. 
You sense things. So I'll simply go 
ahead talking for half an hour or 
so, until you get over it. After that 
you'll come along with me. You 
know, I could try to change things 
around by telling what happened 
to me; but he — I — told me what I 
was going to do, so I might as well 
do the same. I probably couldn't 
help telling you the same thing in 
the same words, even if I tried — 
and I don't intend to try. I've got- 
ten past that stage in worrying 
about all this. 

So let's begin when you get up 
in half an hour and come out 
with me. You'll take a closer look 
at the machine, then. Yes, it'll be 
pretty obvious it must 'be a time 
ma'chine. You'll sense that, too. 
You've seen it, just a small little 
cage with two seats, a luggage com- 
partment, and a few buttons on a 
dash. You'll be puzzling over what 
I'll tell you, and you'll be getting 
used to the idea that you are the 
man who makes atomic power prac- 
tical. Jerome Boell,* just a plain 
engineer, the man who put atomic 
power in every home. You won't 
exactly believe it, but you'll want 
to go along. 

I'LL BE tired of talking by then, 
and in a hurry to get going. So 
I cut off your questions, and get you 
inside. I snap on a green button, 
and everything seems to cut off 
around us. You can see a sort of 
foggy nothing surrounding the 

cockpit; it is probably the field that 
prevents passage through time from 
affecting us. The luggage section 
isn't protected, though. 

You start to say something, but 
by then I'm pressing a black but- 
ton, and everything outside will 
disappear. You look for your house, 
but it isn't there. There is exactly 
nothing there — in fact, there is no 
there. You are completely outside 
■ of time and space, as best you can 
guess how things are. 

You can't feel any motion, of 
course. You try to reach a hand 
out through the field into the noth- 
ing around you and your hand goes 
out, all right, but nothing happens. 
Where the screen ends, your hand 
just turns over and pokes back at 
you. Doesn't hurt, and when you 
pull your arm back, you're still 
sound and uninjured. But it looks 
frightening and you don't try it 

Then it comes to you slowly that 
you're actually traveling in time. 
You turn to me, getting used to the 
idea. "So this is the fourth dimen- 
sion?" you ask. 

Then you feel silly, because 
you'll remember that I said you'd 
ask that. Well, I asked it after I 
was told, then I came back and told 
it to you, and I still can't help an- 
swering when you speak. 

"Not exactly," I try to explain. 
"Maybe it's no dimension — or it 
might be the fifth; if you're going 
to skip over the so-called fourth 
without traveling along it, you'd 



■ v <• 

need a fifth. Don't ask me. I didn't 
invent the machine and I don't un- 
derstand it." 

"But . . ." 

I let it go, and so do you. If you 
don't, a good way of going crazy. 
You'll see later why I couldn't have 
invented the machine. Of course, 
there may have been a start for all 
this once. There may have been a 
time when you did invent the ma- 
chine — the atomic motor first, then 
the time-machine. And when you 
closed the loop by going back and 
saving yourself the trouble, it got 
all tangled up. I figured out once 
that such a universe would need 
some seven or eight time and space 
dimensions. It's simpler just to 
figure that this is the way time got 
bent back on itself. Maybe there is 
no machine, and it's just easier for 
us to imagine it. When you spend 
thirty years thinking about it, as I 
did — and you will — you get further 
and further from an answer. 

Anyhow, you sit there, watching 
nothing all around you, and no 
time, apparently, though there is a 
time effect back in the luggage 
space. You look at your watch and 
it's still running. That means you 
either carry a small time field with 
you, or you are catching a small 
increment of time from the main 
field. I don't know, and you won't 
think about that then, either. 

I'M SMOKING, and so are you, 
and the air in the machine is 
getting a bit stale. You suddenly 

realize that everything in the ma- 
chine is wide open, yet you 
haven't seen any effects of air loss. 

"Where are we getting our air?" 
you ask. "Or why don't we lose it?" 

"No place for it to go," I ex- 
plain. There isn't. Out there is 
neither time nor space, apparently. 
How could the air leak out? You 
still feel gravity, but I can't explain 
that, either. Maybe the machine has 
a gravity field built in, or maybe 
the time that makes your watch run 
is responsible for gravity. In spite 
of Einstein, you have always had 
the idea that time is an effect of 
gravity, and I sort of agree, still. 

Then the machine stops— at least, 
the field around us cuts off. You 
feel a dankish sort of air replace 
the stale air, and you breathe 
easier, though we're in complete 
darkness, except for the weak light 
in the machine, which always burns, 
and a few feet of rough dirty 
cement floor around. You take an- 
other cigaret from me and you get 
out of the machine, just as I do. 

I've got a bundle of clothes and 
I start changing. It's a sort of 
simple, short-limbed, one-piece af- 
fair I put on, but it feels comfort- 

"I'm staying here," I tell you. 
"This is like the things they wear 
in this century, as near as I can 
remember it, and I should be able 
to pass fairly well. I've had all my 
fortune — the one you make on that 
atomic generator — invested in such 
a way I can get it on using some 



identification I've got with me, so 
I'll do all right. I know they still 
use some kind of money, you'll see 
evidence of that. And it's a pretty 
easygoing civilization, from what I 
could see. We'll go up and I'll 
leave you. I like the looks of things 
here, so I won't be coming back 
with you." 

You nod, remembering I've told 
you about it. "What century is this, 

I'd told you that, too, but you've 
forgotten. "As near as I can guess, 
it's about 2150. He told me, just 
as I'm telling you, that it's an inter- 
stellar civilization." 

You take another cigaret from 
me, and follow me. I've got a small 
flashlight and we grope through a 
pile of rubbish, out into a corridor. 
This is a sub-sub-sub-basement. We 
have to walk up a flight of stairs, 
and there is an elevator waiting, 
fortunately with the door open. 

"What about the time ma- 
chine?" you ask. 

"Since nobody ever stole it, it's 
safe." • 

WE GET in the elevator, and I 
say "first" to it. It gives out 
a soughing noise and the basement 
openings begin to click by us. 
There's no feeling of acceleration — 
some kind of false gravity they use 
in the future. Then the door opens, 
and the elevator says "first" back 
at us. 

It's obviously a service elevator 
and we're in a dim corridor, with 

nobody around. I grab your hand 
and shake it. "You go that way. 
Don't worry about getting lost; you 
never did, so you can't. Find the 
museum, grab the motor, and get 
out. And good luck to you." 

You act as if you're dreaming, 
though you can't believe it's a 
dream. You nod at me and I move 
out into the main corridor. A sec- 
ond later, you see me going by, 
mixed into a crowd that is loafing 
along toward a restaurant, or some- 
thing like it, that is just opening. 
I'm asking questions of a man, who 
points, and I turn and move off. 

You come out of the side corri- 
dor and go down a hall, away from 
the restaurant. There are quiet little 
signs along the hall. You look at 
them, realizing for the first time 
that things have changed. 

Steij:neri, Faunten, Z:rgat Dis- 
penser/. The signs are very quiet 
and dignified. Some of them can 
be decoded to stationery shops, 
fountains, and the like. What a zer- 
got is, you don't know. You stop 
at a sign that announces: Trav:l 
Bhvrou — F.rst-Clas fun — Man, 
Viin*s, and x: Trouj:n Planets. 
Spej:l reits tti aol s*nz wixin 60 
lyt iirz! But there is only a single 
picture of a dull-looking metal 
sphere, with passengers moving up 
a ramp, and the office is closed. You 
begin to get the hang of the spell- 
ing they use, though. 

Now there are people around 
you, but nobody pays much atten- 
tion to you. Why should they ? You 



wouldn't care if you saw a man in 
a leopard-skin suit; you'd figure it 
was some part in a play and let it 
go. Well, people don't change 

You get up your courage and go 
up to a boy selling something that 
might be papers on tapes. 

"Where can I find the Museum 
of Science?" 

"Downayer rien turn lefa the 
sign. Stoo bloss," he tells you. 
Around you, you hear some pretty 
normal English, but there are others 
using stuff as garbled as his. The 
educated and uneducated? I don't 

You go right until you find a big 
sign built into the rubbery surface 
of the walk: M':uzi:m *v Syens. 
There's an arrow pointing and you 
turn left. Ahead of you, two blocks 
on, you can see a pink building, 
with faint aqua trimming, bigger 
than most of the others. They are 
building lower than they used to, 
apparently. Twenty floors up seems 
about the maximum. You head for 
it, and find the sidewalk is marked 
with the information that it is the 

YOU go up the steps, but you 
see thjt it seems to be closed. 
You hesitate for a moment, then. 
You're beginning to think the 
whole affair is complete nonsense, 
and you should get back to the 
time machine and go home. But 
then a guard comes to the gate. Ex- 
cept for the short legs in his suit 

and the friendly grin on his face, 
he looks like any other guard. 

What's more, he speaks pretty 
clearly. Everyone says things in a 
sort of drawl, with softer vowels 
and slurred consonants, but it's 
rather pleasant. 

"Help you, sir? Oh, of course. 
You must be playing in 'Atoms and 
Axioms.' The museum's closed, but 
I'll be glad to let you study what- 
ever you need for realism in your 
role. Nice show. I saw it twice." 

"Thanks," you mutter, wonder- 
ing what kind of civilization can 
produce guards as polite as that. 
"I — I'm told I should investigate 
your display of atomic generators." 

He beams at that. "Of course." 
The gate is swung to behind you, 
but obviously he isn't locking it. 
In fact, there doesn't seem to be a 
lock. "Must be a new part. You go 
down that corridor, up one flight 
of stairs and left. Finest display in 
all the known worlds. We've got 
the original of the first thirteen 
models. Professor Jonas was using 
them to check his latest theory of 
how they work. Too bad he could 
not explain the principle, either. 
Someone will, some day, though. 
Lord, the genius of that twentieth 
century inventor! It's quite a hobby 
with me, sir. I've read everything 
I could get on the period. Oh — 
congratulations on your pronuncia- 
tion. Sounds just like some of our 
oldest tapes." 

You get away from him, finally, 
after some polite thanks. The 



' \ *. , 

building seems deserted and you 
wander up the stairs. There's a 
room on your right filled with 
something that proclaims itself the 
first truly plastic diamond former, 
and you go up to it. As you come 
near, it goes through a crazy wiggle 
inside, stops turning out a con- 
tinual row of what seem to be bear- 
ings, and slips something the size 
of a penny toward you. 

"Souvenir," it announces in a 
well-modulated voice. "This is a 
typical gem of the twentieth cen- 
tury, properly cut to 58 facets, 
known technically as a Jaegger dia- 
mond, and approximately twenty 
carats in size. You can have it made 
into a ring on the third floor during 
morning hours for one-tenth credit. 
If you have more than one child, 
press the red button for the num- 
ber of stones you desire." 

You put it in your pocket, gulp- 
ing a little, and get back to the 
corridor. You turn left and go past 
a big room in which models of 
spaceships — from the original thing 
that looks like a V-2, and is labeled 
first Lunar rocket, to a ten-foot 
globe, complete with miniature 
manikins— are sailing about in 
some kind of orbits. Then there is 
one labeled Wep:nz, filled with 
everything from a crossbow to a 
tiny rod four inches long and half 
the thickness of a pencil, marked 
Fynal Hand Arm. Beyond is the 
end of the corridor, and a big place 
that bears a sign, Mad:lz *v Atamic 
Pau.r Sorsez. 

BY THAT time, you're almost 
convinced. And you've been 
doing a lot of thinking about what 
you can" do. The story I'm telling 
has been sinking in, but you aren't 
completely willing to accept it. 

You notice that the models are 
all mounted on tables and that 
they're a lot smaller than you 
thought. They seem to be in chrono- 
logical order, and the latest one, 
marked 2147 — Rhics Dyn*pat:, is 
about the size of a desk telephone. 
The earlier ones are larger, of 
course, clumsier, but with varia- 
tions, probably depending on the 
power output. A big sign on the 
ceiling gives a lot of dope on atomic 
generators, explaining that this is 
the first invention which leaped full 
blown into basically final form. 

You study it, but it mentions cas- 
ually the inventor, without giving 
his name. Either they don't know 
it, or they take it for granted that 
everyone does, which seems more 
probable. They call attention to the 
fact that they have the original 
model of the first atomic generator 
built, complete with design draw- 
ings, original manuscript on opera- 
tion, and full patent application. 

They state that it has all major 
refinements, operating on any fuel, 
producing electricity at any desired 
voltage up to five million, any 
chosen cyclic rate from direct cur- 
rent to one thousand megacycles, 
and any amperage up to one thou- 
sand, its maximum power output 
being fifty kilowatts, limited by 



the current-carrying capacity of the 
outputs. They also mention that the 
operating principle is still being 
investigated, and that only such re- 
finements as better alloys and the 
addition of magnetric and nuclea- 
tric current outlets have been added 
since the original. 

So you go to the end and look 
over the thing. It's simply a square 
box with a huge plug on each side, 
and a set of vernier controls on top, 
plus a little hole marked, in old- 
style spelling, Drop BBs or wire 
here. Apparently that's the way it's 
fueled. It's about one foot on each 

"Nice," the guard says over your 
shoulder. "It finally wore out one 
of the cathogrids and we had to 
replace that, but otherwise it's ex- 
actly as the great inventor made it. 
And it still operates as well as ever. 
Like to have me tell you about it?" 

"Not particularly," you begin, 
and then realize bad manners might 
be conspicuous here. While you're 
searching for an answer, the guard 
pulls v something out of his pocket 
and stares at it. 

"Fine, fine. The mayor of Altase- 
carba — Centaurian, you know — is 
arriving, but I'll be back in about 
ten minutes. He wants to examine 
some of the weapons for a mono- 
graph on Centaurian primitives 
compared to nineteenth century 
man. You'll pardon me?" 

You pardon him pretty eagerly 

■ and he wanders off happily. You 

go up to the head of the line, to 

that Rinks Dynapattuh, or what- 
ever it transliterates to. That's 
small and you can carry it. But the 
darned thing is absolutely fixed. 
You can't see any bolts, but you 
can't budge it, either. 

YOU work down the line. It'd 
be foolish to take the early 
model if you can get one with: 
built-in magnetic current terminals 
— Ehrenhaft or some other prin- 
ciple ? — and nuclear binding-force 
energy terminals. But they're all 
held down by the same whatcha- 
maycallem effect. 

And, finally, you're right back 
beside the original first model. It's 
probably bolted down, too, but you 
try it tentatively and you find it 
moves. There's a little sign under 
it, indicating you shouldn't touch 
it, since the gravostatic plate is be- 
ing renewed. 

Well, you won't be able to 
change the time cycle by doing any- 
thing I haven't told you, but a 
working model such as that is a 
handy thing. You lift it; it only 
weighs about fifty pounds! Natur- 
ally, it can be carried. 

You expect a warning bell, but 
nothing happens. As a matter of 
fact, if you'd stop drinking so much 
of that scotch and staring at the 
time machine out there now, you'd 
hear what I'm saying and know 
what will happen to you. But of 
course, just as I did, you're going 
to miss a lot of what I say from 
now on, and have to find out for 



yourself. But maybe some of it 
helps. I've tried to remember how 
much I remembered, after he told 
me, but I can't be sure. So I'll keep 
on talking. I probably can't help it, 
anyhow. Pre-set, you might say. 

Well, you stagger down the cor- 
ridor, looking out for the guard, 
but all seems clear. Then you hear 
his voice from the weapons room. 
You bend down and try to scurry 
past, but you know you're in full 
view. Nothing happens, though. 



You stumble down the stairs, 
feeling all the futuristic rays in the 
world on your back, and still noth- 
ing happens. Ahead of you, the 
gate is closed. You reach it and it 
opens obligingly by itself. You 
breathe a quick sigh of relief and 
start out onto the street. 

Then there's a yell behind you. 
You don't wait. You put one leg in 
front of the other and you begin 
racing down the walk, ducking past 
people, who stare at you with ex- 

pressions you haven't time to see. 
There's another yell behind you. 

Something goes over your head 
and drops on the sidewalk just in 
front' of your feet, with a sudden 
ringing sound. You don't wait to 
find out about that, either. Some- 
body reaches out a hand to catch 
you and you dart past. 

The street is pretty clear now and 
you jolt along, with your arms 
seeming to come out of the sockets, 
and that atomic generator getting 
heavier at every step. 

.Out of nowhere, something in a 
blue uniform about six feet tall and 
on the beefy side appears — and the 
badge hasn't changed 'much. The 
cop catches your arm and you know 
you're not going to get away, so 
you stop. 

"You can't exert yourself that 
hard in this heat, fellow," the cop 
says. "There are laws against that, 
without a yellow sticker. Here, let 
me grab you a taxi." 

REACTION sets in a bit and 
your knees begin to buckle, 
but you shake your head and come 
up for air. 

"I — I left my money home," you 

The cop nods. "Oh, that explains 
it. Fine, I won't have to give you 
an appearance schedule. But you 
should have come to me." He 
reaches out and taps a pedestrian 
lightly on the shoulder. "Sir, an 
emergency request. Would you help 
this gentleman?" 



The pedestrian grins, looks at 
his watch, and nods. "How far?" 

You did notice the name of the 
building from which you came and 
you .mutter it. The stranger nods 
again, reaches out and picks up the 
other side of the generator, blow- 
ing a little whistle the cop hands 
him. Pedestrians begin to move 
aside, and you and the stranger jog 
down the street at a trot, with a 
nice clear path, while the cop stands 
beaming at you both. 

That way, it isn't so bad. And 
you begin to see why I decided I 
might like to stay in the future. 
But all the same, the organized co- 
operation here doesn't look too 
good. The guard can get the same 
and be there before you. 

And he is. He stands just inside 
the door of the building as you 
reach it. The stranger lifts an eye- 
brow and goes off at once when 
you nod at him, not waiting for 
thanks. And the guard comes up, 
holding some dinkus in his hand, 
about the size of a big folding 
camera and not too dissimilar in 
other ways. He snaps it open and 
you get set to duck. 

"You forgot the prints, mono- 
graph, and patent applications," he 
says. "They go with the generator 
—we don't like to have them sep- 
arated. A good thing I knew the 
production office of 'Atoms and 
Axioms' was in this building. Just 
let us know when you're finished 
with the model and we'll pick it 

You swallow several sets of ton- 
sils you had removed years before, 
and take the bundle of papers he 
hands you out of the little case. 
He pumps you for some more in- 
formation, which you give him at 
random. It seems- to satisfy your 
amiable guard friend. He finally 
smiles in satisfaction and heads back 
to the museum. 

You still don't believe it, but you 
pick up the atomic generator and 
the information sheets, and you 
head down toward the service ele- 
vator. There is no button on it. In 
fact, there's no door there. 

You start looking for other doors 
or corridors, but you know this is 
right. The signs along the halls are 
the same as they were. 

THEN there's a sort of cough 
and something dilates in the 
wall. It forms a perfect door and 
the elevator stands there waiting. 
You get in, gulping out something 
about going all the way down, and 
then wonder how a machine geared 
for voice operation can make any- 
thing of that. What the deuce 
would that lowest basement be 
called? But the elevator has closed 
and is moving downward in a 
hurry. It coughs again and you're 
at the original level. You get out — 
and realize you don't have a light. 
You'll never know what you 
stumbled over, but, somehow, you 
move back in the direction of the 
time machine, bumping against 
boxes, staggering here and there, 



and trying to find the right place 
by sheer feel. Then a shred of dim 
light appears; it's the weak light in 
the time machine. 

You ve located it. 

You put the atomic generator in 
the luggage space, throw the papers 
down beside it, and climb into the 
cockpit, sweating and mumbling. 
You reach forward toward the 
green button and hesitate. There's 
a red one beside it and you finally 
decide on that. 

Suddenly, there's a confused yell 
from the direction of the elevator 
and a beam of light strikes against 
your eyes, with a shout punctuat- 
ing it. Your finger touches the red 

You'll never know what the 
shouting was about — whether they 
finally doped out the fact that 
they'd been robbed, or whether they 
were trying to help you. You don't 
care which it is. The field springs 
up around you and the next button 
you touch — the one on the board 
that hasn't been used so far — sends 
you off into nothingness. There is 
no beam of light, you can't hear a 
thing, and you're safe. 

It isn't much of a trip back. You 
sit there smoking and letting your 
nerves settle back to normal. You 
notice a third set of buttons, with 
some pencil marks over them — - 
"Press these to return to yourself 30 
years" — and you begin waiting for 
the air to get stale. It doesn't be- 
cause there is only one of you this 

Instead, everything flashes off 
and you're sitting in the machine 
in your own back yard. 

You'll figure out the cycle in 
more details later. You get into the 
machine in front of your house, go 
to the future in the sub-basement, 
land in your back yard, and then 
hop back thirty years to pick up 
yourself, landing in front of your 
house. Just that. But right then, 
you don't care. You jump out and 
start pulling out that atomic gen- 
erator and taking it inside. 

IT ISN'T hard to disassemble, but 
you don't learn a thing; just 
some plates of metal, some spiral 
coils, and a few odds and ends — 
all things that can be made easily 
enough, all obviously of common 
metals. But when you put it to- 
gether again, about an hour later, 
you notice something. 

Everything in it is brand-new 
and there's one set of copper wires 
missing! It won't work. You put 
some #12 house wire in, exactly 
like the set on the other side, drop 
in some iron filings, and try it 

And with the controls set at 120 
volts, 60 cycles and 15 amperes, 
you get just that. You don't need 
the power company any more. And 
you feel a little happier when you 
realize that the luggage space 
wasn't insulated from time effects 
by a field, so the motor has moved 
backward in time, somehow, and is 
back to its original youth— minus 



the replaced wires the guard men- 
tioned — which probably wore out 
because of the makeshift job you've 
just done. 

But you begin getting more of a 
jolt when you find that the papers 
are all in your own writing, that 
your name is down as the inventor, 
and that the date of the patent ap- 
plication is 1951. 

It will begin to soak in, then. 
You pick up an atomic generator 
in the future and bring it back to 
the past — your present — so that it 
can be put in the museum with you 
as the inventor so you can steal it 
to be the inventor. And yoij do it 
in a time machine which you bring 
back to yourself to take yourself 
into the future to return to take 
back to yourself . . . 

Who invented what? And who 
built which ? 

Before long, your riches from the 
generator are piling in. Little kids 
from school are coming around to 
stare at the man who changed his- 
tory and made -atomic power so 
common that no nation could hope 
to be anything but a democracy and 
a peaceful one — after some of the 

worst times in history for a few 
years. Your name eventually be- 
comes as common as Ampere, or 
Faraday, or any other spelled with- 
out a capital letter. 

But you're thinking of the 
puzzle. You can't find any an- 

One day you come across an old 
poem — something about some folks 
calling it evolution and others call- 
ing it God. You go out, make a 
few provisions for the future, and 
come back to climb into the time 
machine that's waiting in the build- 
ing you had put around it. Then 
, you'll be knocking on your i own 
door, thirty years back — or right 
now, from your view — and telling 
your younger self all these things 
I'm telling you. 

But now . . . 

Well, the drinks are finished. 
You're woozy enough to go along 
with me without protest, and I 
want to find out just why those 
people up there came looking for 
you and shouting, before the time 
machine left. 

Let's go. 



The Big News Next Month. . . . 

The Wind Between the Worlds 

A Major Novelet by LESTER DEL REY 





There's a fortune in a boxer 
who feels no pain. This one 
didn't, except in odd ways... 

HOW come I live here on 
Gorlin permanent ? Well, 
it's something like this. 
There is nobody real surprised 
when some scientist writes an article 
in the Sunday supplement about 
the primitive tribes of Anestha dy- 
ing out, probably. The Anesthon 
natives is freaks, anyway, and folks 

Illustrated by DAVIO STONE 



just naturally figure they can't last 
long in stiff competition. If you 
are like them and your body don't 
feel any pain any time, you need a 
nursemaid around to keep you from 
doing dumb things, like walking in 
front of a truck or starving to 

I am here on Gorlin a couple 
times and know about 'em. Some 
folks think it's comical to watch 
the space crews think up ways to 
give an Anesthon a workout. 1 see 
one Anesthon girl — a real looker 
she is, too — dance fourteen hours 
before she gives out, just for a 
bottle of perfume and one of them 
Venusian fur lou/ige robes. They 
sure enjoy their pleasures, even if 
they never feel no pain. You feel- 
ing any? More thiska? 

Hey, Noor! Another round of 
thiska for the boys! 

Well, they can feel your feel- 
ings, and any thoughts that are 
about them, too. I guess all they 
live for is pleasure and a pat on 
the back. One time a little runty 
Anesthon guy even builds a whole 
stone blockhouse for a first looie, 
when the looie thinks real hard 
that the little guy looks like a first- 
rate hod carrier. Time the house is 
built, the Anesthon's hands is all 
bloody and one ankle broke where 
a chunk of rock drops on him. He 
don't notice it, of course. 

Pierre gets all worked up about 
them Anestha dying out. That's my 
boy Pierre, the heavyweight. I name 
him Pierre so's nobody thinks he is 

tough till afterward. He comes from 
Gorlin. Of course I have to stable 
him on Venus long enough for a 
legal residence, or the Boxing Com- 
mission would have him investi- 
gated and maybe banned from the 
ring as a telepath. Tough training 
him, too. He can't see the sense of 
fighting, but, man, he can stay in 
the ring all night. He never does 
get real speedy on his feet, but he 
learns fast and packs a wicked left. 
I don't have to lie when I am 
thinking real hard he is champeen 

Anyhow, Pierre gets all worked 
up over his race getting extinct. He 
has a sister who is glenched to some 
nice boy and his old man is some 
sort of a chief. He is all for beating 
it back by the next via- Venus ship 
to see what is getting at the old 
folks at home. I calm him down 
though, give him a couple of shots 
of thiska and say I better take him 
around to see that scientist-dope- 
ster and get the inside first. I have 
to go everywhere with him to see he 
doesn't break a leg and forget to 
tell me about it. 

SO WE hope a TAT in Chi and 
make for Washington where 
this science fellow is with some 
Smithsonian Institute. He is nice 
enough about seeing us, but he can't 
figure how a Chinaman like Pierre 
has any call to be steamed'up about 
the Anestha (you seen these Anes- 
tha with their slick black hair and 
goldy skin and smooth eyelids like 



a Earth Chinaman) so I have to 
break down 'and tell him about 
Pierre being an Anesthon. 

That scientist is pretty peeved 
with me bringing Pierre into the 
Earth system, but when I tell him 
Pierre wants to go back to help out 
the folks, he kind of clams up and 
says the article is just one of those 
Sunday paper things. There don't 
really seem to be anything wrong 
on Gorlin except that all the work- 
ers are getting more careless than 
usual, falling off walls they are 
building and getting hit by rocks 
during blasting, or walking in 
front of full cars in the mines. 

Pierre gives the man a look. 
"Workers? Mines? Blasting?" he 
says. "What gives? There are no 
mines on Gorlin," he says, "just a 
few quarries and a lot of big farms. 
We never have to kill ourselves 
working. What gives?" he says. 

"Oh," the man comes back, 
"there's a couple big targ mines in 
full swing. Some big Earth con- 
cern is shipping out the . stuff five 
freighters a day to Mercury for 
mass insulation. All native work- 
ers. They don't get paid much — 
weej cigarettes, bubble bath, some 
thiska, electro-fur blankets, stuff 
like that — but 1 don't hear yapping. 
If I do, I report anything that looks 
like slavery." Of course he says it 
with a lot of grammar and it takes 
him a half hour, but that is the 

He wants to gab some then with 
Pierre. I see that the boy is getting 

jittery and homesick, too, when the 
guy starts raving about swimming 
in the flaff pools and the feeling of 
katweela petals under your bare 
feet, so I says we have to catch a 
plane and get out of there. 

Pierre still wants to head for 
Gorlin. He says his people must 
be unhappy about something or 
they are more careful. Life on Gor- 
lin is too much fun to just go and 
die for no reason. 

I try to pep him up on the way 
back to Chi, talking about his next 
fight with Kid Bop, but he says he 
can't see any reason in fighting, 
either, just now. I tell him I think 
he kind of likes fighting, but he 
says what he likes is the nice things 
I think about him when he wins, 
and he is too worried about his fam- 
ily to pay much attention to what I 
think just now. 

WELL, we are both pretty flush 
from one of the best fight 
seasons I ever see and a rest won't 
hurt the boy, so I say okay, we are 
going by the first liner off the Flats. 

"You don't have to go, Joe," he 
says. "Keep your dough and train a 
couple more kids. I may not be 
back," he says. 

"Look, boy," I says, "you know 
what the food is like on them 
liners," I says, kind of kidding, 
"and if there's nobody around to 
cram it down you, you don't eat, and 
if you don't eat, you starve — and 
if you starve, you are in no condi- 
tion to cheer up your sister and 



your old man. Besides," I says, "I 
can afford a vacation and you're the 
only fighter I want to work with. 
You've got a real future," I says, 
"and I'm going to bring you back 

I guess that makes him feel kind 
of good, because he grins first time 
since he reads that paper and says, 
"All right, Joe, come on along." 

WE BUY a few pretties and 
neckties in the station and 
ship out of Chi for the Flats on the 
next TAT. Pierre wants to get some 
perfume for his sister, but I tell 
him we can get better on Venus, 
where all the good stuff is made. 

The trip from Venus Space Base 
to Gorlin is fast on account of over- 
drive, but even so I have no trou- 
ble passing Pierre off as a fighter 
who has the jitters and is headed 
for a vacation where he learns to 
take it easy the easy way. He is 
always burning his fingers or his 
mouth on a cigarette, and I have 
to keep an eye on him all the time. 
Nerves, I explain to the passengers. 

When we land, Pierre is all for 
hunting up his folks, but I says no, 
if there is some trouble, it is 
smarter to case the joint. We check 
in at the swanky tourist hotel. She 
is new since I am on Gorlin a 
couple years ago and what class! 
She is built around one of the big- 
gest flaff pools on the whole planet 
and our room is completely lined 
with padded velvety stuff, sort of a 
deep red color, and the bathroom 

has a cloudrift shower that you 
nearly float away on. 

But Pierre just doesn't relax. I 
keep trying to make him get in the 
shower, but it is no use.^He says 
he is just too worried to take any 
pleasure in it. I don't think we 
ought to go scouting till night and 
that is thirty some hours yet, but 
when I see he is settling down to 
wear the fuzz right off the floor 
walking round and round, I give in, 
feed him a sandwich I bring from 
the ship, and we stroll off in the 
woods like we are looking for flow- 

There are no signs around the 
hotel saying which way to the 
mines, so we set off to circle the 
hotel and spaceport clearing to look 
for the rail-line that brings the targ 
to the port. I figure we have gone 
about two-thirds of the way around 
when I nearly fall over a guy sit- 
ting on the ground with his head 
in his hands. What I think is kat- 
weela flowers is just the red Anes- 
thon kloa he has on. He looks up 
sort of dull and then he sees Pierre 
with me. He lets out a yip and sits 
back hard on the ground and 
moans. Pierre yanks the fellow up 
on his feet and hugs him and starts 
to jabber away so fast I can't tell 
what he is saying. Foreigners al- 
ways talk faster than anybody else. 
The other guy puts in a word or 
two every once in a while and then 
he scrams off through the trees. 

"That's Noor," Pierre informs 
me, "the guy my sister Jennel is 



glenched to. He's gonna get us a 
couple of kloas so nobody'll notice 
us around the mine. He's feeling 
mighty low, but I can't figure out 
why. He says Jennel and the old 
man are okay, only he can't ever 
carry Jennel to his own house be- 
cause he ain't man enough. I don't 
get it. He can make a good fighter, 

BEFORE you can count three, 
Noor is back again with the 
kloas and Pierre strips and gets into 
his. I ain't too keen to show my 
shapelies, but Pierre starts grabbing 
my shirt and I have to put the kloa 
on or else. The boys head south at 
a good clip and I tag along trying 
to catch up and find out the score. 
When Pierre sees I am making like 
winded, he slows down and tells me 
we are going to the mine owner's 
fancy dump about two miles down 
the drag. Pierre says Noor tells him 
the mine owner doesn't like him 
and he has to leave us when we get 
in sight of the house. 

After about a mile, Noor begins 
to drag along. Then he just sits 
down under another tree and says 
that is the end of the line for him. 
He points through the trees and 
says go on, maybe he is still there 
when we come back, maybe not. 
While Pierre is jawing with him, I 
look up the trail and see a Anesthon 
babe about a hundred feet away. 
You can tell it is a babe from one 
of them blue and green mollos 
draped around her over the kloa. 

Noor sees her, too, and takes off 
like a bat back the way we come. 
Pierre jogs ahead and when J get 
up with him, there he is hugging 
and jabbering again. 

"My sister Jennel," he says, and, 
"Jennel, this is Joe, my manager." 

She is a cute trick with lots of 
yumph showing through the molla. 
She stands kind of slumped, 
though, and a few of the flowers in 
her shiny black hair are pretty 

" 'Smatter, Jennel?" I says. "You 
look kind of dragged out for a 
dame whose brother comes home 
practically a champeen. Karweela 
flowers go on strike?" I says, just 
tryjng to make talk. 

She slumps a little more and says 
the boss don't like her and how it's 
too bad her brother has to come 
home and find her still alive and 
cluttering up the woods. 

I tell Pierre she better take us to 
this boss that don't like a babe like 
her, but she just shakes her head 
and says go that way and we come 
to the house. Then she says the 
boss makes the natives use the em- 
ployees' entrance on the other side 
of the house and she offers to take 
and show us the way. She kind of 
twitches when she says "natives." 

She don't even says yes or no all 
the way to the gate till, just before 
we get there, I trip on a root and 
bang my knee on a rock on the way 
down. Well, I howl and cuss some 
and she comes up close and asks 
me what seems to be the matter. I 



tell her the blamed rock hurts my 
knee and I think real hard about 
how her knee would feel if a rock 
hits it and she busts right out cry- 

"Oh, you poor man, you poor 
man, you," she sobs. "That rock 
don't like you at all." 

"It don't hate me, either," I says. 
"It's only a rock." 

"But it makes a hurt to you. It 
don't love you and now you are not 
happy where there's any rocks be- 
cause they don't love you," she 
says, and she helps me up and starts 
dragging me along, still crying like 

I DON'T make nothing out of 
that, but pretty soon we come 
to a little gate in a thick row of 
bushes. Jennel lets go of me then 
and says she hopes Pierre is a strong 
man >and a good worker and that the 
boss likes him. And then she gives 
a big sigh and says if the boss 
don't like him, we can find her 
over there where the men are cut- 
ting down a bunch of trees, because 
if one of the trees likes her, it will 
maybe fall on her pretty soon. 

Pierre tells her to wait right there 
by the gate because he is coming 
back. He isn't looking for work so 
the boss won't care if he is strong or 
not. She just sighs again and sits 
down on the grass and whimpers. 

Pierre tries once more to get her 
to tell him what is the matter, but 
all she says is that their father and 
some other fellow named Frith are 


.up at the big house. They are be- 
ing talked to by the boss about not 
getting out enough targ on the 
shifts where they are foremen, and 
she says how sad it is about Pierre 
coming home. 

It is just beginning to filter 
through my thick skull that the boss 
is connected with all this dying out 
of the Anestha, as the Sunday paper 
puts it, and I grab Pierre away 
from Jennel and hustle him through 
.the gate. 

"Look, Pierre," I says, "we'll go 
around' and listen by them long 
windows and see what cooks. I'll 
bet that boss is up to something 
dirty in there. If he is the one who 
messed up Jennel," I says, "we 
better just mess him up some." 

There is nobody in sight on the 
lawn and we just march up to the 
window easy as pie. There is this 
big booming voice giving some- 
body what for. 

"You poor miserable idiots," 
yells this voice, "you can't keep the 
workers off the tracks and you get 
out less than twenty tons of targ 
since last night, and then you waste 
a whole charge of nitro by not tell- 
ing the watchman he's not supposed 
to smoke in the enclosure. All those 
people are dead and it's your fault." 

I hear a sniffle behind me and 
when I turn around, there is Jennel. 
She ha§ sneaked up behind us to 
see what we are going to do. 

"That's how he talks to me, too," 
she lets us know in a whisper, 
"only he says I am not fit to even 


wash dishes, let alone ever have a 
house of my own . . . when I drop 
one of his plates a little while ago. 
He says I am looking in a mirror 
instead of where I am going and 
he hopes I see what an ugly pan I 
have, because I ought to know it 
and keep out of people's way so 
they won't have to look at me." 
Her tears splash right down on the 

"And that's not all," the yelling 
inside goes on. "Not only do you 
kill off all my workers, but at this 
rate I'm losing money paying you 
four packs of cigarettes a day. If I 
have to blast off and start from 
scratch in some other part of this 
blamed universe, you stupid, gut- 
less . . . why, you aren't even men. 
You worms don't even run when 
you see a car coming at you. Too 
blamed dumb to come in out of 
the rain." 

I stick my head around the cor- 
ner and look in, and there is the 
back of a big guy in a Mercury- 
made suit and with a bald head 
that is red all the way round to the 
back of his neck. On the other side 
of the room I see a couple of the 
sorriest-looking Anestha God ever 
makes, shuffling their feet and look- 
ing like kicked dogs. 

I turn to Pierre. "Go in there 
swinging," I says, like at a fight, 
and pull the window open. 

"He won't like me," Pierre says, 
hanging back. "He says Anestha are 
dumb cowards. Maybe he knows. 
Maybe I won't dare hit Him." 

"You get in there and poke him, 
boy," I says and give him a push. 
"I like you and I see you fight and 
the Anestha got more guts than 

THE big guy hears us and turns 
around. "Get out of here, you 
mangy natives," he bellows. "You 
good for nothing, shivering, snivel- 
ing, cowardly boobs. I'm not ready 
for you yet." He is shaking a 
whippy-looking cane at me and 
Pierre, and I think he has turned 

"We're ready for you, though," 
I yell back. I climb into the room 
pulling Pierre in after me. "Pierre's 
no sniveling coward and you can 
quit talking to his brave, heroic, 
self-sacrificing father like that. Put 
'em up and defend yourself, you 
howling ape," I yell, "because 
Pierre is going to give you the beat- 
ing of your howling life!" 

I see Pierre's old man and the 
other fellow spruce up some. 

The big guy sits down in a chair 
real quick, and, sucking in a big 
breath, he starts going all fatherly 
at Pierre, telling him that he 
doesn't want to have to hit him 
back, because Pierre will not feel it 
when he kills him, which'he doesn't 
want to have to do because Pierre 
is just a poor weak Anesthon who 
don't know from nothing, and he 
doesn't want to injure any of his 
workers and he is just telling 
Pierre's "old man a few things to 
protect the Anestha. 



Pierre looks at me kind of doubt- 

"Go on, hit the fat bully," I says, 
real icy. "He has it coming. You 
owe it to your old man and Noor 
and Jennel here. Go ahead and 
show him what kind of champeens 
the Anestha can turn out. It's just 
for his own good," I says, "so hit 
him now. Then you can tell your 
dad what a great guy you are." 

Pierre's left obediently swings 
into the lug's jaw with a crack like 
a rifle. He don't even watch the big 
guy sag down on the floor. He be- 
gins hugging his father and the 
other fellow and grinning and jab- 
bering away like blue blazes. 

The big guy is still breathing, but 
out cold, so I go to look for a tele^ 
viz. I figure the authorities better 
hear my story before the big guy 
wakes up. 

After I make my spiel, the port 
chief says to come in and bring 
Pierre and his father and Frith and 
Jennel and Noor, too, if we can 
find him, and make an official re- 

corded report. He is sending a doc- 
tor out by 'copter. 

We beat it for the port, leaving 
the fat boss sleeping on the floor. 

We all stay in protective custody 
at the hotel, swimming in flaff and 
lounging around the thiska bar for 
a couple of weeks, until the com- 
mission headed by that scientist 
from the Smithsonian Institute 
comes out and takes the boss back 
to Earth. He has to see a judge 
about why he should not go into 
stir for a while for psychological 
coercion or something like that. 

Before they leave, the commis- ■ 
sion hands me an official charge at 
a hundred thou a year to stay as 
Protector of Morale to the Anestha. 
That is better than the fight racket, 
but the protectorship is a laugh. I 
can't even go out for a walk with- 
out a couple dozen Anestha tagging 
along, to keep me from stubbing 
my toe on some unfriendly pebble, 
or socking my eye on some unloving 
devil of a doorknob. 





GOOD NIGHT, MR. JAMES by Clifford D. Simak 


TYRANN by Isaac Asimov 


*One astonishing article and at least three GALAXY quality short stories. 



Second Childhood 


Achieving immortality is only 
half of the problem. The other 
half is knowing how to live 
with it once it's been made 
possible— and inescapable! 

YOU did not die. 
There was no normal 
svay to die. 

You lived as carelessly and as 
recklessly as you could and you 
hoped that you would be lucky and 
be accidentally killed. 

You kept on living and you got 
tired of living. 

"God, how tired a man can get 
of living!" Andrew Young said. 

John Riggs, chairman of the im- 
mortality commission, cleared his 

"You realize," he said to An- 
drew Young, "that this petition is 
a highly irregular procedure to 
bring to our attention." 

He picked up the sheaf of papers 
off the table and ruffled through 
them rapidly. 

IMastrnted by DON HUNTER 



"There is no precedent," he 

"I had hoped," said Andrew 
Young, "to establish precedent." 

Commissioner Stanford said, "I 
must admit that you have made a 
good case, Ancestor Young. Yet 
you must realize that this commis- 
sion has no possible jurisdiction 
over the life of any person, except 
to see that everyone is assured of 
all the benefits of immortality and 
to work out any kinks that may 
show up." 

"I am well aware of that," an- 
swered Young, "and it seems to 
me that my case is one of the kinks 
you mention." . 

He stood silently, watching the 
faces of the members of the board. 
They are afraid, he thought. Every 
one of them. Afraid of the day 
they will face the thing I am facing 
now. They have sought an answer 
and there is no answer yet except 
the pitifully basic answer, the bru- 
tally fundamental answer that I 
have given them. 

"My request is simple," he told 
them, calmly. "I have asked for 
permission to discontinue life. And 
since suicide has been made psy- 
chologically impossible, I have 
asked that this commission appoint 
a panel of next-friends to make the 
necessary and somewhat distasteful 
arrangements to bring about the dis- 
continuance of my life." 

"If we did," said Riggs, "we 
would destroy everything we have. 
There is no virtue in a life of only 

five thousand years. No more than 
in a life of only a hundred years. 
If Man is to be immortal, he must 
be genuinely immortal. He cannot 

"And yet," said Young, "my 
friends are gone." 

HE GESTURED at the papers 
Riggs held m his hands. "I 
have them listed there," he said. 
"Their names and when and where 
and how they died. Take a look at 
them. More than two hundred 
names. People of my own genera- 
tion and of the generations closely 
following mine. Their names and 
the photo-copies of their death cer- 

He put both of his hands upon 
the table, palms flat against the 
table, and leaned his weight upon 
his arms. 

"Take a look at how they died," 
he said. "Every one involves acci- 
dental violence. Some of them 
drove their vehicles too fast and, 
more than likely, very recklessly. 
One fell off a cliff when he reached 
down to pick a flower that was 
growing on its edge. A case of de- 
liberately poor judgment, to my 
mind. One got stinking drunk and 
took a bath and passed out in the 
tub. He drowned . . ." 

"Ancestor Young," Riggs said 
sharply, "you are surely not imply- 
ing these folks were suicides." 

"No," Andrew Young said bit- 
terly. "We abolished suicide three 
thousand years ago, cleared it clean 



out of human minds. How could 
they have killed themselves?" 

Stanford said, peering up at 
Young, "I believe, sir, you sat on 
the board that resolved that prob- 

Andrew Young nodded. "It was 
after the first wave of suicides. I 
remember it quite well. It took 
years of work. We had to change 
human perspective, shift certain 
facets of human nature. We had to 
condition human reasoning by edu- 
cation and propaganda and instill 
a new set of moral values. I think 
we did a good job of it. Perhaps 
too good a job. Today a man can 
no more think of deliberately com- 
mitting suicide than he could think 
of overthrowing our government. 
The very idea, the very word is re- 
pulsive, instinctively repulsive. You 
can come a long way, gentlemen, 
in three thousand years." 

He leaned across the table and 
tapped the sheaf of papers with a 
lean, tense finger. 

"They didn't kill themselves," he 
said. "They did not commit sui- 
cide. They just didn't give a damn. 
They were tired of living ... as I 
am tired of living. So they lived 
recklessly in every way. Perhaps 
there always was a secret hope that 
they would drown while drunk or 
their car would hit a tree or . . ." 

faced them. "Gentlemen," he 
said. "I am 5,786 years of age. I 
was born at Lancaster, Maine, on 

the planet Earth on September 21, 
1968. I have served humankind 
well in those fifty-seven centuries. 
My record is there for you to see. 
Boards, commissions, legislative 
posts, diplomatic missions. No one 
can say that I have shirked my duty. 
I submit that I have paid any debt 
I owe humanity . . . even the well- 
intentioned debt for a chance at 

"We wish," said Riggs, "that 
you would reconsider." 

"I am a lonely man," replied 
Young. "A lonely man and tired. 
I have no friends. There is nothing 
any longer that holds my interest. 
It is my hope that I can make you 
see the desirability of assuming 
jurisdiction in cases such as mine. 
Someday you may find a solution 
to the problem, but until that time 
arrives, I ask you, in the name of 
mercy, to give us relief from life." 

"The problem, as we see it," said 
Riggs, "is to find some way to 
wipe out mental perspective. When 
a man lives as you have, sir, for 
fifty centuries, he has too long a 
memory. The memories add up to 
the disadvantage of present reali- 
ties and prospects for the future." 

"I know," said Young. "I re- 
member we used to talk about that 
in the early days. It was one of the 
problems which was recognized 
when immortality first became prac- 
tical. But we always thought that 
memory would erase itself, that }he 
brain could accommodate only so 
many memories, that when it got 



full up it would dump the old 
ones. It hasn't worked that way." 

He made a savage gesture. "Gen- 
tlemen, I can recall my childhood 
much more vividly than I recall 
anything that happened yesterday." 

"Memories are buried," said 
Riggs, "and in the old days, when 
men lived no longer than a hundred 
years at most, it was thought those 
buried memories were forgotten. 
Life, Man told himself, is a process 
of forgetting. So Man wasn't too 
worried over memories when he be- 
came immortal. He thought he 
would forget them." 

"He should have known," ar- 
gued Young. "I can remember my 
father, and I remember him much 
more intimately than I will remem- 
ber you gentlemen once I leave this 
room. ... I can remember my 
father telling me that, in his later 
years, he could recall things which 
happened in his childhood that had 
been forgotten all his younger 
years. And that, alone, should have 
tipped us off. The brain buries only 
the newer memories deeply . . . 
they are not available; they do not 
rise to bother one, because they are 
not sorted or oriented or correlated 
or whatever it is that the brain may 
do with them. But once they are 
all nicely docketed and filed, they 
pop up in an instant." 

RIGGS nodded agreement. 
"There's a lag of a good many 
years in the brain's bookkeeping. 
We will overcome it in time." 

"We have tried," said Stanford. 
"We tried conditioning, the same 
solution that worked with suicides. 
But in this, it didn't work. For a 
man's life is built upon his mem- 
ories. There are certain basic mem- 
ories that must remain intact. With 
conditioning, you could not be se- 
lective. You could not keep the 
structural memories and winnow 
out the trash. It didn't work that 

"There was one machine that 
worked," Riggs put in. "It got rid 
of memories. I don't understand ex- 
actly how it worked, but it did the 
job all right. It did too good a job. 
It swept the mind as clean as an 
empty room. It didn't leave a thing. 
It took all memories and it left no 
capacity to build a new set. A man 
went in a human being and came 
out a vegetable." 

"Suspended animation," said 
Stanford, "would be a solution. If 
we had suspended animation. Simp- 
ly stack a man away until we found 
the answer, then revive and recon- 
dition him." 

"Be that as it may," Young told 
them, "I should like your most 
earnest consideration of my peti- 
tion. I do not feel quite equal to 
waiting until you have the answer 

Riggs said, harshly, "You are 
asking us to legalize death." 

Young nodded. "If you wish to 
phrase it that way. I'm asking it in 
the name of common decency." 

Commissioner Stanford said, 



"We can ill afford to lose you, An- 

Young sighed. "There is that 
damned attitude again. Immortality 
pays all debts. When a man is made 
immortal, he has received full com- 
pensation for everything that he 
may endure. I have lived longer 
than any man could be expected to 
live and still I am denied the dig- 
nity of old age. A man's desires 
are few, and quickly sated, and 
yet he is expected to continue 
living with desires burned up 
and blown away to ash. He gets 
to a point where nothing has 
a value . . . even to a point 
where his own personal values 
are no more than shadows. Gen- 
tlemen, there was a time when 
I could not have committed murder 
. . . literally could not have forced 
myself to kill another man . . . but 
today I could, without a second 
thought. Disillusion and cynicism 
have crept in upon me and I have 
no conscience." 

<<fT>HERE are compensations," 
■J- Riggs said. "Your fam- 

ily „- • •" 

"They get in my hair," said 

Young disgustedly. "Thousands 

upon thousands of young squirts 

calling me Grandsire and Ancestor 

and coming to me for advice they 

practically never follow. I don't 

know even a fraction of them and 

I listen to them carefully explain a 

relationship so tangled and trivial 

that it makes me yawn in their 

faces. It's all new to them and so 
old, so damned and damnably old 
to me." 

"Ancestor Young," said Stan- 
ford, "you have seen Man spread 
out from Earth to distant stellar 
systems. You have seen the human 
race expand from one planet to 
several thousand planets. You have 
had a part in this. Is there not Some 
satisfaction ..." 

"You're talking in abstracts," 
Young cut in. "What I am con- 
cerned about is myself ... a certain 
specific mass of protoplasm shaped 
in biped form and tagged by- the 
designation, ironic as it may seem, 
of Andrew Young. I have been un- 
selfish all my life. I've asked little 
for myself. Now I am being utterly 
and entirely selfish and I ask that 
this matter be regarded as a per- 
sonal problem rather than as a racial 

"Whether you'll admit it or not," 
said Stanford, "it is more than a 
personal problem. It is a problem 
which some day must be solved for 
the salvation of the race." 

"That is what I am trying to im- 
press upon you," Young snapped. 
"It is a problem that you must 
face. Some day you will solve it, but 
until you do, you must make pro- 
visions for those who face the un- 
solved problem." 

"Wait a while," counseled Chair- 
man Riggs. "Who knows? Today, 

"Or a million years from now," 
Young told him bitterly and left, a 



tall, vigorous-looking man whose 
step was swift in anger where nor- 
mally it was slow with weariness 
and despair. 

THERE was yet a chance, of 

But there was little hope. 

How can a man go back almost 
six thousand years and snare a thing 
he never understood? 

And yet Andrew Young remem- 
bered it. Remembered it as clearly 
as if it had been a thing that had 
happened in the morning of this 
very day. 

It was a shining thing, a bright 
thing, a happiness that was brand- 
new and fresh as a bluebird's wing" 
of an April morning or a shy woods 
flower after sudden rain. 

He had been a boy and he had 
seen the bluebird and he had no 
words to say the thing he felt, but 
he had held up his tiny fingers and 
pointed and shaped his lips to coo. 

Once, he thought, I had it in my 
very fingers and I did not have the 
experience to know what it was, nor 
the value of it. And now I know 
the value, but it has escaped me — 
it escaped me on the day that I be- 
gan to think like a human being. 
The first adult thought pushed it 
just a little and the next one pushed 
it farther and finally it was gone 
entirely and I didn't even know that 
it had gone. 

He sat in the chair on the flag- 
stone patio and felt the Sun upon 
him, filtering through the branches 


of trees misty with the breaking 
leaves of Spring. 

Something else, thought Andrew 
Young. Something that was not hu- 
man — yet. A tiny animal that had 
many ways to choose, many roads to 
walk. And, of course, I chose the 
wrong way. I chose the human way. 
But there was another way. I know 
there must have been. A fairy way 
— or a brownie way, or maybe even 
pixie. That sounds foolish and 
childish now, but it wasn't always. 

I chose the human way because 
I was guided into it. I was pushed 
and shoved, like a herded sheep. 

I grew up and I lost the thing I 

He sat and made his mind go 
hard and tried to analyze what it 
was he sought and there was no 
name for it. Except happiness. And 
happiness was a state of being, not 
a thing to regain and grasp. 

BUT he could remember how it 
felt. With his eyes open in the 
present, he could remember the 
brightness of the day of the past, 
the clean-washed goodness of it, 
the wonder of the colors that were 
more brilliant than he ever since 
had seen — as if it were the first sec- 
ond after Creation and the world 
was still shiningly new. 

It was that new, of course. It 
would be that new to a child. 

But that didn't explain it all. 

It didn't explain the bottomless 
capacity for seeing and knowing 
and believing in the beauty and the 


goodness of a clean new world. It 
didn't explain the almost non-hu- 
man elation of knowing that there 
were colors to see and scents to 
smell and soft green grass to touch. 

I'm insane, Andrew Young said 
to himself. Insane, or going insane. 
But if insanity will take me back 
to an understanding of the strange 
perception I had when I was a 
child, and lost, I'll take insanity. 

He leaned back in his chair and 
let his eyes go shut and his mind 
drift- back. 

He was crouching in a corner of 
a garden and the leaves were drift- 
ing down from the walnut trees 
like a rain of saffron gold. He lift- 
ed one of the leaves and it slipped 
from his fingers, for his hands were 
chubby still and not too sure in 
grasping. But he tried again and he 
clutched it by the stem in one stubby 
fist and he saw that it was not just 
a blob of yellowness, but delicate, 
with many little veins. When he 
held it so that the Sun struck it, he 
imagined that he could almost see 
through it, the gold was spun so 

He crouched with the leaf clutch- 
ed tightly in his hand and for a 
moment there was a silence that 
held him motionless. Then he heard 
the frost-loosened leaves pattering 
all around him, pattering as they 
fell, talking in little whispers as 
they sailed down through the air 
and found themselves a bed with 
their golden fellows. 

In that moment he knew that he 

was one with the leaves and the 
whispers that they made, one with 
the gold and the autumn sunshine 
and the far blue mist upon the hill 
above the apple orchard. 

A foot crunched stone behind 
him and his eyes came open and 
the golden leaves were gone. 

"I am sorry if I disturbed you, 
Ancestor," said the man. "I had an 
appointment for this hour, but I 
would not have disturbed you if I 
had known." 

Young stared at him reproach- 
fully without answering. 

"I am kin," the man told him. 

"I wouldn't doubt it," said An- 
drew Young. "The Galaxy is clut- 
tered up with descendants of 

The man was very humble. "Of 
course, you must resent us some- 
times. But we are proud of you, 
sir. I might almost say that we 
revere you. No other family — " 

"I know," interrupted Andrew 
Young. "No other family has any 
fossil quite so old as I am." 

"Nor as wise," said the man. 

Andrew Young snorted. "Cut 
out that nonsense. Let's hear what 
you have to say and get it over 

THE technician was harassed 
and worried and very frankly 
puzzled. But he stayed respectful, 
for one always was respectful to an 
ancestor, whoever he might be. To- 
day there were mighty few left who 
had been born into a mortal world. 



Not that Andrew Young looked 
old. He looked like all adults, a 
fine figure of a person in the early 

The technician shifted uneasily. 
"But, sir, this . . . this . . ." 

"Teddy bear," said Young. 

"Yes, of course. An extinct ter- 
restrial subspecies of animal?" 

"It's a toy," Young told him. "A 
very ancient toy. All children used 
to have them five thousand years 
ago. They took them to bed." 

THE technician shuddered. "A 
deplorable custom. Primitive." 

"Depends on the viewpoint," 
said Young. "I've slept with them 
many a time. There's a world of 
comfort in one, I can personally 
assure you." 

The technician saw that it was no 
use to argue. He might as well fab- 
ricate the thing and get it over 

"I can build you a fine model, 
sir," he said, trying to work up 
some enthusiasm. "I'll build in a 
response mechanism so that it can 
give simple answers to certain 
keyed questions and, of course, I'll 
fix it so it'll walk, either on two 
legs or four. . . ." 

"No," said Andrew Young. 

The technician looked surprised 
and hurt. "No?" 

"No," repeated Andrew Young. 
"I don't want it fancied up. I want 
it a simple lump of make-believe. 
No wonder the children of today 
have no imagination. Modern toys 

entertain them with a bag of tricks 
that leave the young'uns no room 
for imagination. They couldn't pos- 
sibly think up, on their own, all 
the screwy thjngs these new toys 
do. Built-in responses and implied 
consciousness and all such mechan- 
ical trivia. ..." 

"You just want a stuffed fab- 
ric," said the technician, sadly, 
"with jointed arms and legs." 

"Precisely," agreed Young. 

"You're sure you want fabric, 
sir? I could do a neater job in plas- 

"Fabric," Young insisted firmly, 
"and it must be scratchy." 

"Scratchy, sir?" 

"Sure. You know. Bristly. So it 
scratches when you rub your face < 
against it." 

"But no one in his right mind 
would want to rub his face . . ." 

"I would," said Andrew Young. 
"I fully intend to do so." 

"As you wish, sir," the techni- 
cian answered, beaten now. 

"When you get it done," said 
Young, "I have some other things 
in mind." 

"Other things?" The technician 
looked wildly about, as if seeking 
some escape. " 

"A high chair," said Young. 
"And a crib. And a woolly dog. 
And buttons." 

"Buttons?" asked the technician. 
"What are buttons?" 

"I'll explain it all to you," 
Young told him airily. "It all is 
very simple." 



IT SEEMED, when Andrew 
Young came into the room, 
that Riggs and Stanford had been 
expecting him, had known that he 
was coming and had been waiting 
for him. 

He wasted no time on prelim- 
inaries or formalities. 

They know, he told himself. 
They know, or they have guessed. 
They would be watching me. Ever 
since I brought in my petition, they 
have been watching me, wondering 
what I would be "thinking, trying 
to puzzle out what I might do next. 
They know every move I've made, 
they know about the toys and the 
furniture and all the other things. 
And I don't need to tell them what 
I plan to do. 

"I need some help," he said, and 
they nodded soberly, as if they 
had guessed he needed help. 

"I want to build a house," he 
explained. "A big house. Much 
larger than the usual house." 

Riggs said, "We'll draw the 
plans for you. Do anything else 
that you — " 

"A house," Young went on, 
"about four or five times as big as 
the ordinary house. Four or five 
times normal scale, I mean. Doors 
twenty-five to thirty feet high and 
everything else in proportion." 

"Neighbors or privacy?" asked 

"Privacy," said Young. 

"We'll take care of it," prom- 
ised Riggs. "Leave the matter of 
the house to us." 

Young stood for a long moment, 
looking at the two of them. Then 
he said, "I thank you, gentlemen. 
I thank you for your helpfulness 
and your understanding. But most 
of all I thank you for not asking 
any questions." 

He turned slowly and walked 
out of the room and they sat in 
silence for minutes after he was 

Finally, Stanford offered a de- 
duction: "It will have to be a place 
that a boy would like. Woods to 
run in and a little stream to fish in 
and a field where he can fly his 
kites. What else could it be?" 

"He's been out ordering chil- 
dren's furniture and toys," Riggs 
agreed. "Stuff from five thousand 
years ago. The kind of things he 
used when he was a child. But 
scaled to adult size." 

"Now," said Stanford, "he wants 
a house built to the same propor- 
tions. A house that will make him 
think or help him believe that he 
is a child. But will it work, Riggs? 
His body will not change. He can- 
not make it change. It will only be 
in his mind." 

"Illusion," declared Riggs. "The 
illusion of bigness in relation to 
himself. To a child, creeping on the 
floor, a door is twenty-five to thirty 
feet high, relatively. Of course the 
child doesn't know that. But An- 
drew Young does. I don't see how 
he'll overcome that." 

"At first," suggested Stanford, 
"he will know that it's illusion, but 



after a time, isn't there a possi- 
bility that it will become reality so 
far as he's concerned? That's why 
he needs our help. So that the 
house will not be firmly planted in 
his memory as a thing that's merely 
out of proportion ... so that it 
will slide from illusion into reality 
without too great a strain." 

"We must keep our mouths 
shut." Riggs nodded soberly. 
"There must be no interference. It's 
a thing he must do himself . . . 
entirely by himself. Our help with 
the house must be the help of 
an unseen, silent agency. Like 
brownies, I think the term was that 
he used, we must help and be never 
seen. Intrusion by anyone would in- 
troduce a jarring note and would 
destroy illusion and that is all he 
has to work on. Illusion pure and 

"Others have tried," objected 
Stanford, pessimistic again. "Many 
others. With gadgets and ma- 
chines . . ." 

"None has tried it," said Riggs, 
"with the power of mind alone. 
With the sheer determination to 
wipe out five thousand years of 

"That will be his stumbling 
block," said Stanford. "The old, 
dead memories are the things he 
has to beat. He has to get rid of 
them . . . not just bury them, but 
get rid of them for good and all, 

"He must do more than that," 
said Riggs. "He must replace his 

memories with the outlook he had 
when he was a child. His mind 
must be washed out, refreshed, 
wiped clean and shining and made 
new again . . . ready to live another 
five thousand years." 

The two men sat and looked at 
one another and in each other's 
eyes they saw a single thought — 
the day would come when they, too, 
each of them alone, would face the 
problem Andrew Young faced. 

"We must help," said Riggs, "in 
every way we can and we must keep 
watch and we must be ready . . . 
but Andrew Young cannot know 
that we are helping or that we are 
watching him. We must anticipate 
the materials and tools and the aids 
that he may need." - 

STANFORD started to speak, 
then hesitated, as if seeking 
in his mind for the proper words. 
"Yes," said Riggs. "What is it?" 
"Later on," Stanford, managed 
to say, "much later on, toward the 
very end, there is a certain factor 
that we must supply. The one thing 
that he will need the most and the 
one thing that he cannot think 
about, even in advance. All the rest 
can be stage setting and he can 
still go on toward the time when 
it becomes reality. All the rest may 
be make-believe, but one thing 
must come as genuine or the entire 
effort will collapse in failure." 

Riggs nodded. "Of course. That's 
something we'll have to work out 



"If we can," Stanford said. 

THE yellow button over here and 
the red one over there and the 
green one doesn't fit, so I'll throw 
it on the floor and just for the fun 
of it, I'll put the pink one in my 
mouth and someone will find me 
with it and they'll raise a ruckus 
because they will be afraid that I 
will swallow it. 

And there's nothing, absolutely 
nothing, that I love better than a 
full-blown ruckus. Especially if it 
is over me. . 

"Ug," said Andrew Young, and 
he swallowed the button. 

He sat stiff and straight in the 
towering high chair and then, in a 
fury, swept the oversized muffin tin 
and its freight of buttons crashing 
to the floor. 

For a second he felt like weep- 
ing in utter frustration and then a 
sense of shame crept in on him. 

Big baby, he said to himself. 

Crazy to be sitting in an over- 
grown high chair, playing with but- 
tons and mouthing baby talk and 
trying to force a mind conditioned 
by five thousand years of life into 
the channels of an infant's thoughts. 

Carefully he disengaged the tray 
and slid it out, cautiously shinnied 
down the twelve-foot-high chair. 

The room engulfed him, the ceil- 
ing towering far above him. 

The neighbors, he told himself, 
no doubt thought him crazy, al- 
though none of them had said so. 
Come to think of it, he had not 

seen any of his neighbors for a long 
spell now. 

A suspicion came into his mind. 
Maybe they knew what he was do- 
ing, maybe they were deliberately 
keeping out of his way in order not 
to embarrass him. 

That, of course, would be what 
they would do if they had realized 
what he was about. But he had ex- 
pected ... he had expected . . . 
that fellow, what's his name? . . . 
at the commission, what's the name 
of that commission, anyhow? Well, 
anyway, he'd expected a fellow 
whose name he couldn't remember 
from a commission the name of 
which he could not recall to come 
snooping around, wondering what 
he might be up to, offering to help, 
spoiling the whole setup, every- 
thing he'd planned. 

I can't remember, he complained 
to himself. I can't remember the 
name of a man whose name I knew 
so short a time ago as yesterday. 
Nor the name of a commission that 
I knew as well as I know my name. 
I'm getting forgetful. I'm getting 
downright childish. 


Childish ! 

Childish and forgetful. 

Good Lord, thought Andrew 
Young, that's just the way I want 

On hands and knees he scrabbled 
about and picked up the buttons, 
put them in his pocket. Then, with 
the muffin tin underneath his arm, 
he shinnied up the high chair and, 



Seating himself comfortably, sorted 
out the buttons in the pan. 

The green one over here in this 
compartment and the yellow one 
. . . oops, there she goes onto the 
floor. And the red one in with the 
blue one and this one . . . this 
one . . . what's the color of this 
one? Color? What's that? 

What is what? 


«TT'S almost time," said Stanford, 
X "and we are ready, as ready 
as we'll ever be. We'll move in 
when the time is right, but we 
can't move in too soon. Better to 
be a little late than a little early. 
We have all the things we need. 
Special size diapers and — " 

"Good Lord," exclaimed Riggs, 
"it won't go that far, will it?" 

"It should," said Stanford. "It 
should go even further to work 
right. He got lost yesterday. One 
of our men found him and led him 
home. He didn't have the slightest 
idea where he was and he was get- 
ting pretty scared and he cried a 
little. He chattered about birds and 
flowers and he insisted that our 
man stay and play with him." 

Riggs chuckled softly. "Did he?" 

"Oh, certainly. He came back 
worn to a frazzle." 

"Food?" asked Riggs. "How is 
he feeding himself?" 

"We see there's a supply of stuff, 
cookies and such-wise, left on a low 
shelf, where he can get at them. 
One of the robots cooks up some 

more substantial stuff on a regular 
schedule and leaves it where he can 
find it. We have to be careful. We 
can't mess around too much. We 
can't intrude on him. I have a feel- 
ing he's almost reached an actual 
turning point. We can't afford to 
upset things now that he's come 
this far." 

"The android's ready?" 

"Just about," said Stanford. 

"And the playmates?" 

"Ready. They were less of a 

"There's nothing more that we 
can do?" 

"Nothing," Stanford said. "Just 
wait, that's all. Young has carried 
himself this far by the sheer force 
of will alone. That will is gone 
now. He can't consciously force 
himself any further back. He is 
more child than adult now. He's 
built up a regressive momentum and 
the only question is whether that 
momentum is sufficient to carry him 
-all the way back to actual baby- 

"It has to go back to that?" 
Riggs • looked unhappy, obviously 
thinking of his own future. "You're 
only guessing, aren't j'ou?" 

"All the way or it simply is no 
good," Stanford said dogmatically. 
"He has to get an absolutely fresh 
start. All the way or nothing." 

"And if he gets stuck halfway 
between? Half child, half man, 
what then?" 

"That's -something I don't want 
to think about," Stanford said. 



HE HAD lost his favorite teddy 
bear and gone to hunt it in 
the dusk that was filled with elusive 
fireflies and the hush of a world 
quieting down for the time of 
sleep. The grass was drenched with 
dew and he felt the cold wetness of 
it soaking through his shoes as he 
went from bush to hedge to flower- 
bed, looking for the missing toy. 

It was necessary, he told himself, 
that he find the nice little bear, for 
it was the one that slept with him 
and if he did not find it, he knew 
that it would spend a lonely and 
comfortless night. But at no time 
did he admit, even to his innermost 
thought, that it was he who needed 
the bear and not the bear who 
needed him. 

A soaring bat swooped low and 
for a horrified moment, catching 
sight of the zooming terror, a blob 
of darkness in the gathering dusk, 
he squatted low against the ground, 
huddling against the sudden fear 
that came out of the night. Sounds 
of fright bubbled in his throat and 
now he saw the great dark garden 
as an unknown place, filled with 
lurking shadows that lay in wait 
for him. 

He stayed cowering against the 
ground and tried to fight off the 
alien fear that growled from be- 
hind each bush and snarled in 
every darkened corner. But even as 
the fear washed over him, there 
was one hidden corner of his mind 
that knew there was no need of 
fear. It was as if that one area of 

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his brain still fought against the 
rest of him, as if that small section 
of cells might know that the bat 
was no more than a flying bat, that 
the shadows in the garden were no 
more than absence of light. 

There was a reason, he knew, 
why he should not be afraid — a 
good reason born of a certain 
knowledge he no longer had. And 
that he should have such knowledge 
seemed unbelievable, for he was 
scarcely two years old. 

HE TRIED to say it — two years 

There was something wrong 
with his tongue, something the 
matter with the way he had to use 
his mouth, with the way his lips 
refused to shape the words he 
meant to say. 

He tried to define the words, 
tried to tell himself what he meant 
by two years old and one moment 
it seemed that he knew the meaning 
of it and then it escaped him. 

The bat came again and he 
huddled close against the ground, 
shivering as he crouched. He lifted 
his eyes fearfully, darting glances 
here and there, and out of the cor- 
ner of his eye he saw the looming 
house and it was a place he knew 
as refuge. 

"House," he said, and the word 
was wrong, not the word itself, but 
the way he said it. 

He ran on trembling, unsure feet 
and the great door loomed before 
him, with the latch too high to 

reach. But there was another way, 
a small swinging door built into the 
big door, the sort of door that is 
built for cats and dogs and some- 
times little children. He darted 
through it and felt the sureness and 
the comfort of the house about him. 
The sureness and the comfort — 
and the loneliness. 

He found his second-best teddy 
bear, and, picking it up, clutched it 
to his breast, sobbing into its 
scratchy back in pure relief from 

There is something wrong, he 
thought. Something dreadfully 
wrong. Something is as it should 
not be. It is not the garden or the 
darkened bushes or the swooping 
winged shape that came out of the 
night. It is something else, some- 
thing missing, something that 
should be here and isn't. 

Clutching the teddy bear, he sat 
rigid and tried desperately to drive 
his mind back along the way that 
would tell him what was wrong. 
There was an answer, he was sure 
of that. There was an answer some- 
where; at one time he had known 
it. At one time he had recognized 
the need he felt and there had been 
no way to supply it — and now he 
couldn't even know the need, could 
feel it, but he could not know it. 

He clutched the bear closer and 
huddled in the darkness, watching 
the moonbeam that came through 
a window, high above his head, and 
etched a square of floor in bright- 



Fascinated, he watched the moon- 
beam and all at once the terror 
faded. He dropped the bear and 
crawled on hands and knees, stalk- 
ing the moonbeam. It did not try 
to get away and he reached its edge 
and thrust his hands into it and 
laughed with glee when his hands 
were painted by the light coming 
through the window. 

He lifted his face and stared up 
at the blackness and saw the white 
globe of the Moon, looking at him, 
watching him. The Moon seemed 
to wink at him and he chortled joy- 

Behind him a door creaked open 
and he turned clumsily around. 

Someone stood in the doorway, 
almost filling it — a beautiful per- 
son who smiled at him. Even in 
the darkness he could serjse the 
sweetness of the smile, the glory of 
her golden hair. 

"Time to eat, Andy," said the 
woman. "Eat and get a bath and 
then to bed." 

Andrew Young hopped joyfully 
on both feet, arms held out — 
happy and excited and contented. 

"Mummy!" he cried. "Mummy 
. . . Moon!" 

He swung about with a pointing 
finger and the woman came swiftly 
across the floor, knelt and put her 
arms around him, held him close 
against her. His cheek against hers, 
he stared up at the Moon and it 
was a wondrous thing, a bright and 
golden thing, a wonder that was 
shining new and fresh. 



ON THE street outside, Stanford 
and Riggs stood looking up 
at the huge house that towered 
above the trees. 

"She's in there now," said Stan- 
ford. "Everything's quiet so it must 
be all right." 

Riggs said, "He was crying in 
the garden. He ran in terror for 
the house. He stopped crying about 
the time she must have come in." 

Stanford nodded. "I was afraid 
we were putting it off too long, but 
I don't see now how we could have 
done it sooner. Any outside inter- 
ference would have shattered the 
thing he tried to do. He had to 
really need her. Well, it's all right 
now. The timing was just about 

"You're sure, Stanford?" 

"Sure? Certainly I am sure. We 
created the android and we trained 
her. We instilled a deep maternal 
sense into her personality. She 
knows what to do. She is almost 
human. She is as close as we could 
come to a human mother eighteen 
feet tall. We don't know what 
Young's mother looked like, but 
chances are he doesn't either. Over 
the years his memory has idealized 
her. That's what we did. We made 
an ideal mother." 

"If it only works," said Riggs. 

"It will work," said Stanford, 
confidently. "Despite the shortcom- 
ings we may discover by trial and 
error, it will work. He's been fight- 
ing himself all this time. Now he 
can quit fighting and shift respon- 

sibility. It's enough to get him over 
the final hump, to place him safely 
and securely in the second child- 
hood that he had to have. Now he 
can curl up, contented. There is 
someone to look after him and 
think for him and take care of him. 
He'll probably go back just a little 
further ... a little closer to the 
cradle. And that is good, for the 
. further he goes, the more memories 
are erased." 

"And then?" asked Riggs wor- 

"Then he can proceed to grow 
up again." 

They stood watching, silently. 

In the enormous house, lights 
came on in the kitchen and the 
windows gleamed with a homey 

I, too, Stanford was thinking. 
Some day, I, too. Young has point- 
ed the way, he has blazed the path. 
He had shown us, all the other 
billions of us, here on Earth and 
all over the Galaxy, the way it can 
be done. There will be others and 
for them there will be more help. 
We'll know then how to do it bet- 

Now we have something to 
work on. 

Another thousand years or so, he 
thought, and I will go back, too. 
Back to the cradle and the dreams 
of childhood and the safe security 
of a mother's arms. 

It didn't frighten him in the 





ert A. Heinlein. Charles Scrib- 
ner's Sons, 1950. $2.50, 216 

THOUGH conceived as a book 
for "adolescents," and first 
published, in a shorter version, in 
Boy's Life, this book is also one of 
the best of the month's output in 
science fiction for adults. I don't 
know what this proves; but I hope 
it indicates that the so-called 
adolescent of our time is acquiring 
a pretty mature and down-to-Earth 
outlook on science fiction. 

It is true that Farmer in the 

Sky underemphasizes philosophical 
ideology, grandiose concepts of 
space, and complex scientific jar- 
gon; it really is just an adventure 
story with an unusual amount of 
realism in its telling. It is not child- 
ish. When I compare it with the 
boys' books' of a generation or so 
ago, such as The Rover Boys or 
Tom Swift, I am astonished at the 
advance in quality that has taken 
place in books for boys. 

The fact of the matter is that 
any lover of realistic and exciting 
narratives of "different" places will 
thoroughly enjoy this tale of the 
attempts of mankind to establish 

• • • • • SHELF 


settlements on Ganymede, one of 
Jupiter's moons. It has all the'feel 
of the believable that a good story 
of adventure in strange places of 
the known world gives one — rplus 
the bonus tingle of the fact that it 
is, today, only a dream. 

The methods of making Gany- 
mede habitable are not described 
in rich, beautiful pseudo-scientific 
prose. They are mentioned, some- 
times actually described, but never 
overelaborated : a trick which a 
good many established science fic- 
tion writers might well adopt. And 
the circumstances that lead to the 
colonization of Ganymede are de- 
scribed with equal realism and 
simplicity. The story takes place at 
a time in the future when Earth 
itself is drastically overpopulated, 
;uid food is in very short supply. 
The colonists on Ganymede have 
one thing the Earth inhabitants do 
not have, which is plenty to eat. 
On the other hand, they have trou- 
bles, too — troubles which seem 
possible when you read them, even 
though they are foreign now. 

Above all, the book is peopled 
with real and entirely human-scale 
human beings. There is not a space- 
jockey among them — unless you 
consider old Captain Hattie, the 
crotchety female who operates the 
-ancient rocket ship that is used to 
ferry passengers and freight from 
the huge modern Terran space liner 
(which cannot land on Ganymede) 
to the satellite's surface, the very 
model of a future astronaut. 

The whole book is a very effec- 
tive antidote to the complex and 
often bloody tales of intergalactic 
and interplanetary wars which seem 
to be the stock in trade of too 
many modern science fiction writ- 
ers. The Lord be praised for this 
touch of simple sanity in the mad 
worlds of science fantasy! 

Lewis Padgett. Simon & Schuster, 
Inc., 1950. $2.50, 276 pages. 

A COLLECTION of eleven of 
the better Kuttner-Padgett 
short stories from past issues of 
Astounding and other magazines, 
and consequently a must for every- 
one who likes top-grade science fic- 
tion and fantasy. I have certain 
reservations, as a matter of personal 
taste, against the two Hogben opera 
included," and particularly against 
the two out-and-out fantasies in the 
book (The Gnome, a "semi"-hu- 
morous tale about a man who be- 
comes a gnome, and Compliments 
of the Author, an overlong fiction 
about cats as familiars and a small- 
time blackmailer who sold his soul 
to the devil) but the rest of the 
tales are top drawer stuff. There 
are what you need, The Tivonky, 
The Cure, Mimsy Were the Boro- 
groves (a masterpiece of subtle and 
elegant writing about the strange- 
ness of being very young), Jesting 
Pilot, Main Check (with its su- 
perb snap at the end) and This Is 
The House (which, though not as 



well known as The T wonky, is just 
as good and just as frightening) . 

Incidentally, as far as I know, 
this is the second Kuttner item to 
see the light of day as a bound 
book. Fury, which was done under 
the pseudonym of Lawrence 
O'Donnell in Astounding, was 
published recently in the Grosset 
& Dunlap Dollar series of science 
fiction (GALAXY, Nov. 1950). 
The book is a genuine first, which 
makes this tale of violence and im- 
mortality in the underwater Keeps 
of Venus especially worth your 
while — and only $1. 

ford Simak. Gnome Press, 1950. 
$2.50, 224 pages. 

THIS well-remembered story of 
inter-universe adventure has 
been made into a solid novel from 
the shorter form in which it orig- 
inally appeared back in 1939. Fall- 
ing more or less into the super- 
impossible school of science fiction 
of which Donald Wandrei used to 
be the leader, it has an old-fash- 
ioned and somewhat frenetic ring 
to it which, nevertheless, is rather 
pleasant. The tale tells how, from 
a space station on Pluto, a few 
Earthians, aided by an incredible 
girl who has been in suspended 
animation for a thousand years, are 
able to help avert the collision of 
our universe with another, a crash 
which would have been "slightly 
fatal" to both. A comparison of 

this colossal concept with the quiet 
realities of Heinlein's tale of 
colonizing Ganymede is not favor- 
able to the Simak, but the com- 
parison should be made. It shows 
how science fiction — even for "ado- 
lescents" — has improved since. 

The writing in the book is on 
the immature side, too, as a com- 
parison with Simak's own magnifi- 
cent Time Quarry (GALAXY, 
Oct.-Dec. 1950) shows. It is very 
pleasant to see how the author has 
improved with age — proving that 
both science fiction and science fic- 
tion authors are maturing! 


Merritt. Memorial Edition, 
illustrated by Virgil Finlay. Bor- 
den Publishing Co., 1950. $3.50, 
309 pages. 

AVERY handsome volume, with 
its five superb and sexy Fin- 
lays, and an acceptable In Memor- 
iam for the Old Master of fantasy. 
As for the melodramatic, color- 
ful, corny old plot (the story was 
first published in 1924), there is no 
need to describe it here. If you like 
Merritt, you'll love this example of 
his weird and fruity imagination; 
if you don't, you won't care any- 
how. I'm one of those who like it, 
though sometimes I wonder if it's 
simple hankering for my adoles- 
cence, when Merritt was the most 
wonderful thing that ever hap- 


• • • • • SHELF 


Two Weeks in August 

The humblest events sometimes result from the 
most grandiose beginnings. You'd never imagine 
space travel starting this way, for instancel 


I SUPPOSE there's a guy like 
McCleary in every office. 
Now I'm not a hard man to 
get along with and it usually takes 
quite a bit more than overly bright 
remarks from the office boy to 
bother me. But try as I might, I 

could never get along with Mc- 
Cleary. To be as disliked as he was, 
you have to work at it. 

What kind of guy was he? Well, 
if you came down to the office one 
day proud as Punch because of 
something little Johnny or Josephine 


Illustrated by ELIZABETH MaclNTYRE 


had said, it was a sure cinch that 
McCleary would horn in with some- 
thing his little Louie had spouted 
off that morning. At any rate, when 
McCleary got through, you felt like 
taking Johnny to the doctor to find 
out what made him subnormal. 

Or maybe you happened to buy 
a new Super-eight that week and 
were bragging about the mileage, 
the terrific pickup, and how quickly 
she responded to the wheel. Leave 
it to McCleary to give a quick run- 
down on his own car that would 
make you feel like selling yours for 
junk at the nearest scrap heap. 

Well, you see what I mean. 

But by far the worst of it was 
when vacation time rolled around. 
You could forgive a guy for top- 
ping you about how brainy his kids 
are, and you might even find it in 
your heart to forget the terrific bar- 
gain he drove to work in. But vaca- 
tion time was when he'd really get 
on your nerves. You could pack the 
wife and kids in Old Reliable and 
roll out to 'the lake for your two 
weeks in August. You might even 
break the bank and spend the two 
weeks at a poor man's Sun Valley. 
But no matter where you went, 
when you came back, you'd have to 
sit in silence and listen to Mc- 
Cleary's account of his Vacation in 
the Adirondacks, or his Tramp in 
the Canadian Wilds, or maybe even 
the Old French Quarter. 

The trouble was he always had the 
photographs, the ticket stubs, and 
the souvenirs to prove it. Where he 

got the money, I'll never know. 
Sometimes I'd tell the wife about it 
and she'd sniff and wonder what 
kind of shabby house they lived in 
that they could afford all the other 
things. I never looked him up my- 
self. Tell you the truth, I was afraid 
I'd find the McClearys lived on 
Park Avenue. 

NOW you look forward to a vaca- 
tion all year, but particularly 
during the latter part of July, when, 
what with the heat and the stuffy 
office, you begin to feel like a half- 
done hotdog at a barbecue. I was 
feeling even worse than usual as I 
was faced with spending my two 
weeks in my own backyard, most of 
my vacation dough having gone to 
pay the doctor. The only thing I 
minded was having McCleary find 
out about it and seeing that phony 
look of sympathy roll across his fat 
face while he rambled on about the 
vacation he was going to have. 

It was lunch time and we had 
just finished talking about the latest 
on television and what was wrong 
with the Administration and who'd 
win the pennant when Bob Young 
brought up the subject of vacations. 
It turned out he was due for a trip 
to the Ozarks and Donley was 
going after wall-eye pike in north- 
ern Wisconsin. I could sense Mc- 
Cleary prick up his ears clear across 
the room. 

"How about you, Bill?" Donley 
asked me. "Got any plans?" 

I winked heavily and jerked a 



thumb warningly toward McCleary, 
making sure McCleary couldn't see 
the gesture. 

"My vacation is really going to 
be out of the world this time," I 
said. "Me and the wife are going 
to Mars. Dry, you know. Even bet- 
ter than Arizona for her sinus." 

Even with the wink they were 
caught off guard for a minute. 

"Mars?" Donley said feebly, 
edging his chair away. "Yeah, sure. 
Great place. Never been there my- 
self, though." 

Young just gaped, then grinned 
as he caught on. "I understand it's 
a wonderful spot," he chipped in. 

I casually peeled a hard-boiled 
egg the wife had packed in my 
lunch bucket and leaned back in my 
swivel chair. "It's really swell," I 
said dreamily, but loud enough so 
McCleary couldn't help but over- 
hear. "Drifting down the Grand 
Canal at evening, the sun a faint 
golden disk behind the crystal tow- 
ers of Marsport ..." I let my voice 
drift into a long sigh and reached 
for Donley's sack of grapes. 

About this time McCleary had 
gnawed his way through a big 
pastrami sandwich and waddled 
over. He stood there expectantly, 
but we carefully ignored him. 

"Always wanted to go myself," 
Donley said in the same tone of 
voice he would have used to say 
he'd like to go to California some- 
day. "Pretty expensive, though, 
isn't it?" 

"Expensive?" I raised a studiedly 

surprised eyebrow. "Oh, I suppose 
a little, but it's worth it. The wife 
and I got a roomette on the Princess 
of Mars for $139.50. That's one 
way, of course." 

"Mars!" Young sighed wistfully. 

There was a moment of silence, 
with all three of us paying silent 
tribute to the ultimate" in vacations. 
McCleary slowly masticated a leaf 
of lettuce, his initial look of suspi- 
cion giving way to half-belief. 

"Let's hear some more about it," 
Young said enthusiastically, sud- 
denly recovering from his reverie. 

"Oh, there isn't much more," I 
said indifferently. "We plan to stay 
at the Redsands hotel in Marsport 
— American plan. Take in Mars- 
port, with maybe a side trip to 
Crystallite. If we have time we 
might even take a waterway cruise 
to the North Pole . . ." 

1 BROKE off and dug Donley in 
the ribs. 

"Man, you never fished until you 
have a Martian flying fish at the 
end of the line!" I grabbed a ruler 
off the desk and began using it as 
an imaginary rod and reel. "Talk 
about fight ... oh, sorry, Mac." 
My ruler had amputated part of a 
floppy lettuce leaf that hung from 
McCleary's sandwich. 

I settled down in my chair again 
and started paying attention to my 
lunch. "Nothing like it," I added" 
between mouthfuls of liverwurst. 

"How about entertainment?" 
Young winked slyly. 



"Well, you know — the wife will 
be along," I said. "But some of the 
places near the Grand Canal — and 
those Martian Mist Maidens! 
Brother, if I was unattached . . ." 

"There ain't any life on Mars," 
McCleary said, suspicious again. 

All three of us looked at him in 
shocked silence. 

"He says there's no life on 
Mars!" Donley repeated. 

"You ever been there, 'Mc- 
Cleary?" I asked sarcastically. 

"No, but just the same . . ." 

"All right," I cut in, "then you 
don't know whether there is or 
isn't. So kindly reserve your opin- 
ion until you know a little about 
the subject under discussion." 

I TURNED back to Donley and 

"Really a wonderful place for 
your health. Dry, thin air, nice and 
cool at night. And beautiful! From 
Marsport you can see low-slung 
mountains in the distance, dunes of 
soft, red sand stretching out to 
them. If I were you, Bob, I'd forget 
all about the Ozarks and sign up on 
the rocket." 

"There ain't any rockets going to 
Mars," McCleary said obstinately. 

"Isn't," I corrected. "I mean, 
there is. Besides, McCleary, just 
because you never heard of some- 
thing doesn't mean it doesn't exist." 

"The government's still working 
on V-2," McCleary said flatly. 
"They haven't even reached the 
moon yet." 

I sighed softly, acting disgusted 
at having to deal with somebody as 
stupid as McCleary. "Mac, that's 
the government and besides they're 
dealing with military rockets. And 
did you ever hear of the govern- 
ment perfecting .something before 
private industry? Who perfected 
the telephone, the radio, television ? 
The government? No, private in- 
dustry, of course! Private industry 
has always been ahead of the gov- 
ernment on everything, including 
rockets. Get on the stick, Mac." 

McCleary started in on his lettuce 
leaf again, looking very shrewd. 

"How come I never heard of it 
before now?" he asked, springing 
the clincher argument. 

"Look, Mac, this is relatively 
new. The company's just starting, 
can't afford to take full-page ads 
and that sort of thing. Just give 'em 
time, that's all. Why, a couple of 
years from now you'll be spending 
your vacation on Venus or Jupiter 
or some place like that. From now 
on California and the Bahamas will 
be strictly old hat." 

McCleary looked half-believing. 

"Where'd you get your tickets?" 

I waved vaguely in the direction 
of downtown. "Oh, there must be 
at least a couple of agencies down- 
town. Might even be able to find 
them in the phone book. Look 
under Interplanetary Rocket Lines 
or something like that. You might 
have a little difficulty, of course. 
Like I say, they're not too well ad- 



McCleary was about to say some- 
thing more, but then the one o'clock 
bell rang and we went back to the 
office grind. 

WELL, McCleary didn't say any- 
thing more about it the next 
day, even though we'd throw in a 
chance comment about Mars every 
now and then, as if it were the most 
natural thing in the world, but Mac 
didn't rise to the bait. We gradually 
forgot about it. 

The next couple of weeks came 
and went and then my two weeks in 
August. Like I said before, my va- 
cation dough had gone to pay the 
doctor, so I stayed at home and 
watered the begonias. 

The Monday morning after vaca- 
tion, we were all back in the office, 
if anything looking more fagged 
than we had when we left. When 
lunch time rolled around, Donley 
and Young and I piled our lunches 
on Donley's desk — his desk was 
near a window on the north side of 
the building so we could get the 
breeze — and talked about what we 
had done during vacation. 

McCleary ambled up and like it 
usually does after McCleary comes 
around, the conversation just natu- 
rally died down. After a two min- 
ute silence I finally took the hook. 

"Okay, Mac," I said, "I know 
you're just dying to tell us. Where 
did you go?" 

He almost looked surprised. "To 
Mars," he said, like he might have 
said Aunt Minnie's. 

The three of us looked blank for 
a minute and then we caught on. It 
took us a while to recover from 
laughing and my sides were still 
aching when I saw McCleary's face. 
It definitely had a hurt look on it. 

"You don't think I did," he ac- 
cused us. 

"Oh, come off it, McCleary," I 
said crossly. "A gag's a gag, but it 
can be carried too far. Where'd you 
go? California, Oregon, some place 
like that?" 

"I said I went to Mars," Mc- 
Cleary repeated hotly, "and I can 
prove it!" 

"Sure," I said. "Like I can prove 
the world's flat and it's supported 
by four elephants standing on 
a turtle's back like the old 
Greeks ..." 

I cut off. McCleary had thrown a 
couple of pasteboards on the desk 
and I picked them up. The printing 
on it was like you see on a Pullman 
ticket. It said something about a 
roomette, first-class passage on the 
Mar/tan Prime, for $154.75, and 
there was even .a place where they 
had the tax figured. In two blanks 
at the top of the ticket, they had it 
filled out to E. C. McCleary and 
wife. The bottom half was torn off, 
just like they do with train tickets. 

"Very clever," I said, "but you 
shouldn't have gone to all that trou- 
ble to have these printed up." 

McCleary scowled and dropped 
a little bunch of kodachrome slides 
on the desk. 1 took one and held it 
up to the light. It showed Mac and 



his wife mounted on something 
that looked like a cross between a 
camel and a zebra. They were at the 
top of a sand dune and in the dis- 
tance you could see the towers of a 
city. The funny thing was the tow- 
ers looked a little — but not much- 
like minarets and the sand dunes 
were colored a beautiful pink. 

I passed it on to Donley and 
Young and started leafing through 
the rest. They were beautiful slides. 
McCIeary and spouse in front of 
various structures in a delicately 
tinted marble and crystal city. Mc- 
CIeary in a pink-and-black boat on 
a canal that looked as wide as the 
Mississippi. McCIeary standing on 
a strangely carved sandstone para- 
pet, admiring a sunset caused by a 
sun looking half as big as ours. 
And everywhere were the dunes of 
pink sand. 

"Pictures can be faked, Mac," I 

He looked hurt and got some 
things out of his desk — a sateen 
pillow with scenes like those on his 
snapshots, an urn fdled with pink 
sand, a tiny boat like a gondola, 
only different, a letter opener made 
out of peculiar bubbly pink glass. 
They were all stamped "Souvenir 
of Mars" and that kind of junk you 
don't have made up for a gag. I 
know mass-produced articles when 
I see them. 

"We couldn't afford the first- 
class tour," McCIeary said expan- 
sively, "but I figure we can cover 
that next year." He turned to me 

puzzledly. "I asked the passenger 
agent about the Princess of Mars 
and he said he had never heard of 
the ship. And it's Mars City, not 
Marsport. Couldn't understand how 
you made a mistake." 

"It was easy," I said weakly. I 
pointed to the pasteboard ducats. 
"Where'd you get these, Mac?" 

He waved generously in the di- 
rection of downtown. "Like you 
said, there's a couple of agencies 
downtown. . . ." 

YOU know, sometimes I think we 
misjudged McCIeary. It takes a 
while to get to know a guy like 
Mac. Maybe his' Louie is brighter 
than Johnny, and maybe his chug- 
mobile is something terrific. 

For the last few years, all on ac- 
count of Mac, my two weeks in 
August have really been well spent. 
Beautiful! Why, from Mars City 
you can see low-slung mountains in 
the distance and dunes of soft, red 
sand stretching out to them. And 
the sunsets when you're standing 
on the parapets of that delicate 
crystal city . . . And, man, fishing in 
the Grand Canal ... > 

How do you get to Mars ? There's 
probably a couple of agencies in 
your own town. You can look them 
up in your phone book under "Va- 
cation at the Planets of Pleasure" or 
something like that. They might be 
a little difficult to find, though. 

• You see, they're not very well 
advertised yet. 






Part 2 of a 3 part serial 


rylRON FARRILL, son of an 
■D aristocrat of the Nebular King- 
doms, is about to complete bis uni- 
versity work on Earth. He is 
awakened on one of his last nights 
in the dormitory to find himself 
locked in with a deadly radiation 
bomb. He is rescued from this sit- 
uation by Sander fonti, a native of 
the same region of the Galaxy, who 
states that Biron's father has been 
arrested and probably executed by 
the Tyranni, the inhabitants of the 
planet Tyrann who, fifty years ear- 
lier, had conquered all the Nebular 

fonti apparently also knows that 
Biron has been asked by his father 
to obtain a mysterious document 
from Earth's archives which seems 
to be of major importance to the 
success of the conspiracy, fonti ad- 
vises Biron to leave Earth before 

the Tyranni make another attempt 
to kill him as the representative of 
an aristocratic family toe danger- 
ously popular with their subjects. 

Biron leaves for the planet 
Rhodia under an assumed name. 
There he expects to see the planet's 
Director, who is a favorite of the 
Tyranni overlords and may use his 
influence with them to have Biron's 
ancestral land holdings restored to 
him. On the ship to Rhodia, bow- 
ever, Biron finds that his cabin has 
been searched and some of his pri- 
vate papers taken. He realizes that 
his identity must be known and 
that he is in grave danger. On land- 
ing at Rhodia he is turned over to 
Simok Aratap, the Tyranni Conimis- 
sioner for that sector of space. 

Aratap is aware of Biron's real 
identity, but releases bim in order 
to be able to discover the true extent 
of what he feels must be a vast 
conspiracy, of which Biron and his 

Illustrated by JOHN BUNCH 

Rebellions logically are led by men who have 
nothing to lose. But this galactic conspiracy 
was staffed with noblemen who had nothing to 
gain and everything to lose if it succeeded! 





father were only a small part. For 
that purpose, Biron is conducted to 
Hinrik, the Director of Rhodia. 

Meanwhile, back on Earth, 
Sander Jonti continues the search 
for the important document which 
Biron had been sent to obtain. He 
finds it had disappeared from 
Earth's archives twenty years earlier. 
He has not the slightest notion of 
the nature of the document, except 
that it dates prior to the time of 
the discovery of space-travel. What 
Earth of the pre-atomic age can 
possibly contribute to a conspiracy 
of the Galactic Era is a mystery. 

On Rhodia, Biron meets Hinrik, 
the weakling Director, who is 
frightened nearly to idiocy of the 
Tyranni, and therefore makes a per- 
fect tool for them. He meets Arte- 
misia, the Director's daughter, who 
is being driven to desperation by 
an impending marriage of state 
with an old Tyranni courtier; and 
Gillbret, the Director's cousin, who 
dabbles in scientific gadgets al- 
though all forms of research among 
the subject peoples have been for- 
bidden by the Tyranni. Biron re- 
' veals his actual identity to them. 

In a private conference, Gillbret 
tells Biron of his own passionate 
opposition to Tyranni rule and asks 
Biron to help him and Artemisia 
escape from the planet. Biron 
agrees. But meanwhile, Hinrik, con- 
vinced that Biron's presence is a 
trap set for him by the Tyranni, in- 
tended to test his loyalty {and in 
this he is right), orders that Biron 

be arrested and delivered back to 

With Gillbret' s help, Biron 
escapes from the two guards sent 
to arrest him and seeks refuge in 
Artemisia's room. She conceals him 
and now faces the company of 
guards who are ransacking the pal- 
ace and who wish to search her 
room. With them is Gillbret. 

In Artemisia's dressing room, 
Biron waits tensely. 

Part Two 


And an Overlord's Trousers 

ARTEMISIA did not have to 
feign uneasiness. She spoke 
^to Gillbret, who, with the 
captain of the guard, was at the 
door. Half a dozen uniformed men 
hovered discreetly in the back- 
ground. She asked, quickly, "Has 
anything happened to father?" 

"No, no," Gillbret reassured her. 
"Nothing has happened that need 
concern you at all. Were you 
asleep ?" 

"Just about," she replied, "and 
my girls have been about their own 
affairs for hours. There was no one 
to answer but myself and you near- 
ly frightened me to death." 

She turned to the captain sud- 
denly, with a stiffening attitude. 
"What is wanted of me, captain? 
Quickly, please. This is not the time 
of day for a proper audience." 



Gillbret broke in, before the 
other could more than open his 
mouth, "A most amusing thing, 
Arta. The young man, whatsisname 
— you know — has dashed off, break- 
ing two heads on his way. We're 
hunting him on even terms now. 
One platoon of soldiers to one fugi- 
tive. And here I am myself, hot on 
the trail, delighting our good cap- 
tain with my zeal and courage." 

Artemisia managed to look com- 
pletely bewildered. 

Under his breath, the captain 
muttered a monosyllabic impreca- 
tion. His lips scarcely moved. He 
said, "If you please, my Lord, you 
are not quite plain, and we are de- 
laying matters insufferably. My 
Lady, the man who calls himself the 
son of the ex-Rancher of Widemos 
has been arrested for treason. He 
has managed to escape and is now 
at large. We must search the Pal- 
ace for him, room by room." 

Artemisia stepped back, frown- 
ing. "Including my room?" 

"If your Ladyship permits." 

'^1 do not. I would certainly 
know if there were a strange man 
in my room. And the suggestion 
that I might be having dealings 
with such a man, or any strange 
man, at this time of night is highly 
improper. Please observe due re- 
spect for my position, captain." 

It worked quite well. The cap- 
tain could only bow and say, "No 
such implication was intended, my 
Lady. Your pardon for annoying 
you at this time of night. Your 

statement that you have not seen 
the fugitive is, of course, sufficient. 
Under the circumstances, it was 
necessary to assure ourselves of your 
safety. He is a dangerous man." 

"Surely not so dangerous that he 
cannot be handled by you and your 

GILLBRET' S high-pitched voice 
interposed, "Captain, come, 
come. While you exchange courtly 
sentiments with my niece, our man 
has had time to rifle the armory. I 
would suggest that you leave a 
guard at the lady Artemisia's door, 
so that what remains of her sleep 
will not be further disturbed. Un- 
less, my dear," and he twinkled his 
fingers at Artemisia, "you would 
care to join us." 

"I shall satisfy myself," said 
Artemisia, coldly, "in locking my 
door and retiring, thank you." 

"Pick a large guard," cried Gill- 
bret. "Take that one. A fine uni- 
form our guards have, Artemisia. 
You can recognize a guard as far 
as you can see him by his uniform 

"My Lord," said the captain, im- 
patiently, "there is no time. You 
delay matters." 

At a gesture from him, a guard 
fell out of the platoon, saluted 
Artemisia through the closing door, 
then the captain. The sound of or- 
dered footsteps fell away in both 

Artemisia waited, then slid the 
door quietly open an inch or two. 




^'•.'■.'"i'.W.V, in,'- . 

The guard was there, legs apart, 
back rigid, right hand armed, left 
hand at his alarm button. He was 
the guard suggested by Gillbret, a 
tall one. As tall as Biron of Wide- 
mos, though slimmer of shoulders. 
It occurred to her, at that mo- 
ment, that Biron, though young and 
therefore rather unreasonable in 
some of his viewpoints, was at least 
large and well-muscled, which was 
convenient. It had been foolish of 
her to snap at him. Quite pleasant- 
looking, too. 

' She closed the door, and stepped 
toward the dressing room. 


IRON tensed as the door slid 
away again. He held his breath 
and his fingers stiffened. 

Artemisia stared at his neuronic 
whips, which he had aimed instant- 
ly at her. "Be careful/" 

He puffed out his breath in re- 
lief and stuffed each whip into a 
pocket. They were very uncomfort- 
able there, but he had no proper 
holsters. He said, "That was just in 
case it was somebody looking for 

"Come out. And whisper." 

She was still in her night-robe, 
woven out of a smooth fabric with 




which Biron was unfamiliar, 
adorned with little tufts of silvery 
fur, and clinging to the body 
through some faint static attraction 
inherent in the material so that 
neither buttons, clasps, loops, nor 
seam-fields were necessary. Nor, as 
a consequence, did it do more than 
merely faintly dim the outlines of 
Artemisia's figure. 

Biron felt his ears reddening, and 
liked the sensation very much. 

Artemisia waited, then made a 
little whirling gesture with her 
forefinger and said, "Do you 

Biron looked up at her face. 
"What? Oh, I'm sorry." 

He turned his back to her and 
remained stiffly attentive to the faint 
rustling of the change of outer gar- 
ments. It did not occur to him to 
wonder why she had not used the 
dressing room, or why, better still, 
she had not changed before open- 
ing the door. There are depths in 
feminine psychology, which, with- 
out experience, defy analysis. 

She was in black when he turned, 
a two-piece suit which did not reach 
below the knee. It had that more 
substantial appearance that went 
with clothing meant for the out- 
doors, rather than for the ballroom. 

Biron said, automatically, "Are 
•we leaving, then?" 

She shook her head. "You'll 
have to do your part first. You'll 
need other clothes yourself. Get to 
one side of the door, and I'll have 
the guard in." 

"What guard?" 

She smiled briefly. "They left a 
guard at the door, at Uncle Gil's 

The door to the corridor ran 
smoothly along its runners an inch 
or two. 

The guard was still there, stiffly 

"Guard," she whispered. "In 
here, quickly." 

There was no reason for a com- 
mon soldier to hesitate in his obe- 
dience to the Director's daughter. 
He entered the widening door, with 
a respectful, "At your service, my 



L — " and then his knees buckled 
under the weight which came down 
upon his shoulders, while his words 
were cut off, without even an inter- 
rupting squawk, by the forearm 
which slammed against his larynx. 

Artemisia closed the door hur- 
riedly and watched with sensations 
that amounted almost to nausea. 
The life in the Palace of the Hin- 
riads was mild almost to decadence, 
and she had never before seen a 
man's face congest with blood and 
his mouth yawn and puff futilely 
under the influence of asphyxia. 
She looked away. 

Biron bared his teeth with effort 
as he tightened the circle of bone 
and muscle about the other's throat. 
For a minute, the guard's weaken- 
ing hands ripped futilely at Biron's 
arm, while his feet groped in aim- 
less kicks. Biron heaved him clear 
off the floor. 

And then the guard's hands fell 
to his sides, his legs hung loosely 
and the convulsive and useless 
heavings of the chest began to sub- 
side. Biron lowered him gently to 
the floor. The guard sprawled out 
limply as though he were a sack 
which had been emptied. 

"Is he dead?" asked Artemisia, 
in a horrified whisper. 

"I doubt it," said Biron. "It 
takes four or five minutes of it to 
kill a man. But he'll be out of 
things for a while. Do you have 
anything to tie him up with?" 

She shook her head. For the mo- 
ment, she felt quite helpless. 

Biron said, "You must have 
some Cellite stockings. They would 
do fine." He had already stripped 
the guard of weapons and outer 
clothing, "And I'd like to wash 
up. In fact, I have to." 

IT WAS pleasant to step 
through the detergent mist in 
Artemisia's bathroom. It left him 
perhaps a trifle overscented, but the 
open air would take care of the 
fragrance, he hoped. At least, he 
was clean; and it required merely 
the momentary passage through the 
fine, suspended droplets that shot 
past him forcefully in a warm air 
stream. No special drying chamber 
was required, since he stepped out 
dry as well as clean. They didn't 
have this on Widemos, or on Earth. 

The guard's uniform was a bit 
tight, and Biron did not like the 
way the somewhat ugly, conical 
military cap fit over his brachy- 
cephalic head. He stared at his re- 
flection with some dissatisfaction. 
"How do I look?" 

"Quite like a soldier," she said. 

•He 'said, "You'll have to carry 
one of these whips. I can't handle 

She took it between two fingers 
and dropped it into her bag which 
then was suspended from her wide 
belt by another micro-force, so that 
her hands remained free. 

"We had better go, now," she 
said. "Don't say a word if we meet 
anyone; let me do the talking. Your 
accent isn't right, and it would be 



impossible to talk in my presence 
unless you were directly addressed, . 
anyway. Remember, you're a com- 
mon soldier." 

The guard on the floor was be- 
ginning to wriggle a bit and roll 
his eyes. His wrists and ankles were 
securely tied at the small of his 
back with stockings that had the 
tensile strength of more than an 
equal amount of steel. His tongue 
worked futilely at his gag. 

He had been shoved out of the 
way, so that it was not necessary to 
step over him to get to the door. 

"This way," breathed Artemisia. 

AT THE first turning, there was 
a footstep behind them and a 
hand came down on Biron's shoul- 

Biron stepped to one side quick- 
ly and turned, one hand catching 
the other's arm, while' his other 
snatched at his whip. 

But it was Gillbret, who said, 
"Easy, man!" 

Biron loosened his grip. 

Gillbret rubbed his arm. "I've 
been waiting for you, but that's no 
reason to break my bones. Let me 
stare admiringly at you, Farrill. 
Your clothes seem to have shrunk 
on you, but not bad; not bad at all. 
Nobody would look twice at you in 
that get-up. It's the advantage of a. 
uniform. It's taken for granted that 
a soldier's uniform holds a soldier 
and nothing else." 

"Uncle Gil," whispered Arte- 
misia, urgently, "don't talk so 

much. Where are the other 

"Everyone objects to a few 
words," he said, pettishly. "The 
other guards are working their way 
up the tower. They've decided that 
our friend is on none of the lower 
levels, so they've just left some men 
at the main exits and at the ramps, 
with the general alarm system in 
operation as well. We can get past 

"Won't they miss you, sir?" 
asked Biron. 

"Me? Hah! The captain was 
glad to see me go for all his toe- 
scraping. They won't look for me, 
I assure you." 

They were speaking in whispers, 
but now even those died away. A 
guard stood at the bottom of the 
ramp, while two others flanked the 
large, carved double door that led 
to the open air. 

Gillbret called out, "Any word 
of the escaped prisoner, men?" 

"No, my Lord," said the nearest. 
He clicked his heels together and 

"Well, keep your eyes open." 
And they walked past them and 
out, one of the guards at the door 
carefully neutralizing that section 
of the alarm as they left. 

It was night-time outside. The 
sky was clear and starry, the ragged 
mass of the Dark Nebula blotting 
out the specks of light near the 
horizon. Palace Central was a dark 
mass behind them, and the Palace 
Field was half a mile away. 



But after five minutes of walking 
along the quiet path, Gillbret grew 

"There's something wrong," he 

Artemisia said, "Uncle Gil, you 
haven't forgotten to arrange to have 
the ship ready?" 

"Of course not," he snapped at 
her, as nearly as one could snap in 
a whisper, "but why is the Field 
Tower lit up? It should be dark." 

He pointed up through the trees, 
to where the Tower was a honey- 
comb of white light. Ordinarily, 
that would indicate business at the 
Field, ships leaving for space or 
arriving from it. 

Gillbret muttered, "Nothing was 
scheduled for tonight. That was 

They saw the answer at a dis- 
tance, or Gillbret did. He stopped 
suddenly and spread his arms wide 
to hold back the others. 

"That's all," he said, and giggled 
almost hysterically. "This time Hin- 
rik has really messed things prop- 
erly, the idiot. They're here! The 
Tyranni ! Don't you understand ? 
That's Aratap's private armored 

Biron saw it, gleaming faintly 
under the lights, standing out 
among the other undistinguished 
ships. It was smoother, slimmer, 
more deadly feline than the Rhod- 
ian vessels. 

Gillbret said, "The captain said a 
'personage' was being entertained 
today, and I paid no attention. 

There's nothing to do now. We 
can't fight Tyranni." 

"Why not?"- Biron demanded, 
savagely. "Why can't we fight 
them? They have no reason to sus- 
pect trouble and we're armed. Let's 
take the Commissioner's own ship. 
Let's leave him with his trousers 

He stepped forward, out of the 
relative obscurity of the trees and 
on to the bare Field. The others 
followed. There was ,no reason to 
hide. They were two members of 
the royal family and an escorting 

But it was the Tyranni they were 
fighting now. 

SIMOK ARATAP of Tyrann had 
been impressed the first time 
he had ever seen the Palace 
Grounds at Rhodia years earlier, 
but it had turned out to be only a 
shell that had impressed him. The 
interior was nothing but a musty 
relic. Two generations earlier, 
Rhodia's legislative chambers had 
met on these grounds and most of 
the administrative offices had been 
quartered there. Palace Central had 
been the heartbeat of a dozen 

But now the legislative chambers 
(still existing, for the Khan never 
interfered with local legalisms) met 
once a year to ratify the executive 
orders of the past twelve months. 
It was only a formality. The Ex- 
ecutive Council was still, nom- 
inally, in continuous session, but it 



consisted of a dozen men who re- 
mained on their estates nine weeks 
in ten. The various executive bu- 
reaus were still active, since one 
could not govern without them 
whether the Director or the Khan 
ruled, but they were now scattered 
over the planet; made less depend- 
ent upon the Director, more con- 
scious of their actual masters, the 

Which left the Palace as majes- 
tic as it had always been in stone 
and metal and that only. It housed 
the Directorial family, a scarcely 
adequate corps of servants, and an 
entirely inadequate corps of native 

Aratap felt uncomfortable in the 
palatial shell and was unhappy. It 
was late, he was tired, his eyes 
burned so that he longed to remove 
his contact lenses, and, most of all, 
he was disappointed. 

There was no recognizable pat- 
tern of motive and counter-motive. 
He glanced occasionally at his mili- 
tary aide, but the major was 
listening to the Director with ex- 
pressionless stolidity. As for Aratap 
himself, he paid little attention. 

"Widemos's son! Indeed?" he 
would say, in abstraction. Then 
later, "And so you arrested him? 
Quite right!" 

But it meant little to him, since 
events lacked a design. Aratap had 
a neat and tidy mind which could 
not bear the thought of individual 
facts loosely clumped together with 
no decent arrangement. 

Widemos had been a traitor, and 
Widemos's son had attempted a 
meeting with the Director of Rho- 
dia. He had attempted it first in 
secret and when that had failed, 
such was the urgency, he attempted 
it openly with his ridiculous story 
of an assassination plot. Surely that 
must have been the beginning of a 

And now it fell apart. Hinrik 
was giving up the boy with inde- 
cent haste. He could not even wait 
the night, it seemed. And that did 
not fit at afl, or else Aratap had 
not yet learned all the facts. 

HE FOCUSED his attention on 
the Director. Hinrik was sense- 
lessly beginning to repeat himself. 
Aratap felt a twinge of compas- 
sion. The man had been made into 
such a coward that even the Ty- 
ranni themselves grew impatient 
with him. And yet it was the only 
way. Nothing but fear could insure 
absolute loyalty. 

Widemos had not been afraid, 
and, despite the fact that his self- 
interest had been bound at every 
point with the maintenance of Ty- 
ranni rule, he had rebelled. Hinrik 
was afraid and that made the dif- 

And because Hinrik was afraid, 
he sat there, lapsing into incoher- 
ence as he struggled to wheedle 
some gesture of approval. The ma- 
jor -would give none, of course, 
Aratap knew. The man had no 
imagination. He sighed and wished 



he had none, either. Politics was a 
filthy business. 

So he said, with some air of 
animation, "I commend your quick 
decision and your zeal in the service 
of the Khan. You may be sure he 
will hear of it." 

HINRIK brightened visibly, his 
relief obvious. 

Aratap said, "Have him brought 
in, then, and let us hear what our 
cockerel has to say." He suppressed 
a desire to yawn. He had absolutely 
no interest in what the "cockerel" 
had to say. 

It was Hinrik's intention at this 
point to signal for the captain of 
the guard, but there was no neces- 
sity for that. The captain stood in 
the doorway, unannounced. 

"Excellency," he said and strode 
in without waiting for permission. 

Hinrik stared hard at his hand, 
still inches from the signal, as 
though wondering whether his in- 
tention had somehow developed 
sufficient force to substitute for the 

He asked, uncertainly, "What is 
it, captain?" 

The captain said, "Excellency, 
the prisoner has escaped." 

Aratap felt some of the weari- 
ness disappear. What was this? 
"The details, captain!" he ordered, 
and straightened in his chair. 

The captain gave them with a 
blunt economy of words. He con- 
cluded, "I ask your permission, Ex- 
cellency, to proclaim a general 

alarm. They are still only minutes 

"Yes, by all means," stuttered 
Hinrik, "by all means. A general 
alarm, indeed. Just the thing. 
Quickly! Quickly! Commissioner, I 
cannot understand how it could 
have happened. Captain, put every 
man to work. There will be an in- 
vestigation, Commissioner. If nec- 
essary, every man on the guards 
will be broken. Broken! Broken!" 

He repeated the word in near- 
hysteria, but the captain remained 
standing. It was obvious that he had 
more to say. 

Aratap said, "Why do you 

"May I speak to your Excellency 
in private?" asked the captain, 

Hinrik cast a quick, frightened 
look at the bland, unperturbed 
Commissioner. He mustered a 
feeble indignation. "There are no 
secrets from the soldiers of the 
Khan, our friends, our — " 

"Say your say, captain," inter- 
posed Aratap, gently. 

The captain brought his heels to- 
gether sharply. "Since I am ordered 
to speak, your Excellency, I regret 
to inform you that my lady Arte- 
misia and my lord Gillbret accom- 
pany the prisoner in his escape." 

"He dared to kidnap them?" 
Hinrik was on his feet. "And my 
guards allowed it?" 

"They were not kidnaped, Excel- 
lency. They accompany him volun- 



"How do you know?" Aratap 
was delighted, and thoroughly 
awake. It formed a pattern now, 
after all. A better pattern than he 
could have anticipated. 

The captain said, "We have the 
testimony of the guard they over- 
powered, and the guards who, un- 
wittingly, allowed them to leave the 
building." He hesitated, then added 
grimly, "When I interviewed my 
lady Artemisia at the door of her 
private chambers, she told me she 
had been on the point of sleep. It 
was only later that I realized that 
when she told me that, her face was 
elaborately made up. When I re- 
turned, it was too late. I accept the 
blame for the mismanagement of 
this affair. After tonight, I will re- 
quest your Excellency to accept my 
resignation, but, first, have I still 
your permission to sound the gen- 
eral alarm ? Without your authority, 
I could not interfere with members 
of the royal family." 

But Hinrik was swaying on his 
feet and could only stare at him 

Aratap said, "Captain, you would 
do better to look to the health of 
your Director. I would suggest you 
call his physician." 

"The general alarm," repeated 
the captain. 

"There will be no general 
alarm," said Aratap. "Do you un- 
derstand me? No general alarm! 
No recapture of the prisoner! The 
incident is closed ! Return your men 
to their quarters and ordinary 

duties and look to your Director. 
— Come, major." 

THE Tyrannian major spoke 
tensely once they had left the 
mass of Palace Central behind 

"Aratap," he said, "I presume 
you know what you're doing. I kept 
my mouth shut in there on the basis 
of that presumption." 

"Thank you, major." Aratap 
liked the night air of a planet full 
of green and growing things. Ty- 
rann was more beautiful in its way, 
but it was a terrible beauty of arid 
rocks and mountains. 

He went on, "You cannot 
handle Hinrik, Major Andros. In 
your hands, he would wilt and 
break. 'He is useful, but requires 
gentle treatment if he is to remain 

The major brushed that aside. 
"I'm not referring to that. Why not 
the general alarm? Don't you want 

"Do you?" Aratap stopped. "Let 
us sit here for a moment, Andros. 
A bench on a pathway along a 
lawn. What more beautiful and 
what place is safer f ram spy beams ? 
Why do you want the young man, 

"Why do I want any traitor and 

"Why do you, indeed, if you 
only catch a few tools while leav- 
ing the source of the poison un- 
touched? Whom would you have? 
A cub, a silly girl, a senile idiot." 



There was the faint splashing of 
an artificial waterfall nearby. A 
small one, but decorative. Now that 
was a real wonder to Aratap. 
Imagine water, spilling out, run- 
ning to waste, pouring down the 
rocks and along the ground. He had 
never educated himself out of a 
prim indignation over it. 

<* A S IT is," said the major, "we 

-£~X have nothing." 

"We have a pattern. When the 
young man first arrived, we con- 
nected him with Hinrik and that 
bothered us because Hinrik is — 
what he is. But it was the best we 
could do. Now we see it was not 
Hinrik at all; that Hinrik was a 
misdirection. It was Hinrik's daugh- 
ter and cousin he was after and that 
makes more sense." 

"Why didn't he call us sooner? 
He waited for the middle of the 

"Because he is the tool of who- 
ever is the first to reach him, and 
Gillbret, I am sure, suggested this 
night meeting as a sign of great 
zeal on his part." 

"You mean we were called here 
on purpose? To witness their 

"No, not for that reason. Ask 
yourself. Where do these people 
intend going?" 

The major shrugged. "Rhodia is 

"Yes, if it were the young Far- 
rill alone who was concerned. But 
where on Rhodia would two mem- 

bers of the royal family go unrec- 
ognized? Particularly the girl." 

"They would have to leave the 
planet then." ■ 

"And from where? They can 
reach the Palace Field in a fifteen- 
minute walk. Now do you see the 
purpose of our being here?" 

The major said, "Our ship?" 

"Of course. A Tyrannian ship 
would seem ideal to them. Other- 
wise, they would have to choose 
among freighters. Farrill has been 
educated on Earth, and, I'm sure, 
can fly a cruiser." 

"Now there's a point," the ma- 
jor agreed. "Why do we allow the 
nobility to send out their sons in 
all directions? What business has 
a subject to know more about 
travel than will suffice him for lo- 
cal trade? We raise soldiers against 

"Nevertheless," said Aratap, 
with polite indifference, "at the mo- 
ment, Farrill has a foreign educa- 
tion and let us take that into account 
objectively, without growing angry 
about it. The fact remains that I am 
completely certain they have taken 
our cruiser." 

"I can't believe it." 

"You have your wrist-caller. 
Make contact with the. ship, if you 

The major tried, futilely. 

Aratap said, "Try the Field 

The major did so, and the small 
voice came out of the tiny receiver, 
in minute agitation. "But, Excel- 



lency, I don't understand. There is 
some mistake. Your pilot took off 
ten minutes ago." 

Aratap was smiling. "You see? 
Work out the pattern and each little 
event becomes inevitable. And now 
do you fully understand the conse- 

THE major did. He slapped his 
thigh, and laughed briefly. "Of 

"Well," said Aratap, "they 
couldn't know, of course, but they 
have ruined themselves. Had they 
been satisfied with the clumsiest 
Rhodian freighter on the field, they 

would surely have escaped and 
(what's the expression?) I would 
have been caught with my trousers 
down this night. As it is, my trous- 
ers are firmly belted and nothing 
can save the three of them. And 
when I pluck them back, in my 
own good time" — he emphasized 
the words with satisfaction — "I 
will have the rest of the conspiracy 
in my hands as well." 

He sighed and found himself be- 
ginning to feel sleepy once more, 
"Well, we have been lucky, and 
now there is no hurry. Call Central 
Base and have them send another 
ship after us." 





BIRON FARRILL'S training in 
spationautics back at Earth had 
been largely academic. There had 
been the university courses in the 
various phases of spatial engineer- 
ing which, though half a semester 
was spent on the theory of the 
hyperatomic motor, offered little 
when it came to the actual manipu- 
lation of ships in space. The best 
and most skilled pilots learned their 
art in practice and not in school- 

He had managed to take off with- 
out actual accident, though that was 
more luck than design. The Re- 
morseless answered the controls far 
more quickly than Biron had an- 
ticipated. He had manipulated sev- 
eral ships on Earth out into space 
and back to the planet, but those 
had been aged and sedate models, 
maintained for the use of students. 
They had been gentle, and very, 
very tired, and had lifted with an 
effort and spiraled slowly upward 
through the atmosphere and into 

The Remorseless, on the other 
hand, had lifted effortlessly, spring- 
ing upward and whistling through 
the air, so that Biron had fallen 
backward out of his chair and all 
but dislocated his shoulder. Arte- 
misia and Gillbret, with the greater 
caution of the inexperienced, had 
strapped themselves in, and were 

bruised against the padded web- 
bing. The Tyrannian prisoner had 
lain pressed against the wall, tear- 
ing at his bonds and cursing in a 

Biron had risen shakily to his 
feet, kicked the Tyrannian into a 
brooding silence and made his way 
along the wall-rail, hand over hand 
against the acceleration, back to his 
seat.. Forward blasts of power 
quivered the ship and reduced the 
rate of increasing velocity to a bear- 
able pressure. 

They were in the upper reaches 
of the Rhodian atmosphere by then. 
The sky was a deep violet and the 
hull of the ship was hot with air 
friction, so that warmth could be 
felt within. 

It took hours thereafter to set the 
ship into an orbit about Rhodia. 
Biron could find no way of readily 
calculating the velocity necessary to 
just overcome Rhodia's gravity. He 
had to work it by hit and miss, 
varying the velocity with puffs of 
power forward and backward, 
watching the massometer, which in- 
dicated their distance from the plan- 
et's surface by measuring the 
intensity of the gravitational field. 
Fortunately the massometer was al- 
ready calibrated for Rhodia's mass 
and radius. Without considerable 
experimentation, Biron. could not 
have adjusted the calibration him- 

Eventually, the massometer held 
steady and over a period of two 
hours showed no appreciable drift. 



Biron allowed himself to relax, and 
the others climbed out of their 

ARTEMISIA said, "You don't 
have a very light touch, my 
lord Rancher." 

"I'm flying by touch, my Lady," 
Biron replied, curtly. "If you can 
do better, you're welcome to try, but 
only after I myself disembark." 

"Quiet, quiet," said Gillbret. 
"The ship is too cramped for pet- 
tishness, and, in addition, since we 
are to be crushed into an incon- 
venient familiarity in this leaping 
prison pen, I suggest we discard the 
many 'lords' and 'ladies' which will 
otherwise encrust our conversation. 
I am Gillbret, you are Biron, she is 
Artemisia. I suggest we memorize 
those terms of address, or any var- 
iation we care to use. And as for 
piloting the ship, why not use the 
help of our Tyrannian friend 

The Tyrannian glared, and Biron 
said, "No. There is no way we 
could trust him. And my own pilot- 
ing will improve as I get the hang 
of this ship. I haven't cracked you 
up yet, have I?" 

His shoulder hurt still as a. re- 
sult of the first lurch and, as usual, 
pain made him peevish. 

"Well," said Gillbret, "what do 
we do with him?" 

"I don't like to kill him in cold 
blood," said Biron, "and that won't 
help us. It would just make the Ty- 
ranni doubly excited. Killing one of 

the master race is really the unfor- 
givable sin." 

"But what is the alternative?" 

"We'll land him." 

"All right. Where?" 

"On Rhodia." 


"It's the one place they won't be 
looking for us. Besides, we've got 
to go down pretty soon, anyway." 


"Look, this is the Commission- 
er's ship, and he's been using it for 
hopping about the surface of the 
planet. It wouldn't be provisioned 
for space voyages. Before we go 
anywhere, we'll have to take com- 
plete inventory aboard ship, and at 
least make sure that we have enough 
food and water." 

Artemisia was nodding vigorous- 
ly. "That's right. I wouldn't have 
thought of that myself. Very 
clever, Biron." 

Biron made a deprecating ges- 
ture, but warmed with pleasure, 
nevertheless. It was the first time 
she had used his first name. She 
could be quite pleasant when she 

Gillbret said, "But he'll radio our 
whereabouts instantly." 

"I don't think so," said Biron. 
"In the first place, Rhodia has its 
desolate areas, I imagine. We don't 
have to drop him into the business 
- section of a city, or into the middle 
of one of the Tyranni garrisons. 
Besides, he may not be so anxious 
to contact his superiors as you might 
think. - — Say, private, what would 



happen to a soldier who allowed 

the Commissioner of the Khan to 

have his private cruiser stolen from 


■ The prisoner did not answer, but 

his lip-line became pale. 

Biron would not have wanted to 
be in the soldier's place. To be 
sure, he could scarcely be blamed. 
There was no reason why he should 
have suspected trouble resulting 
from mere politeness to members 
of the Rhodian royal family. Stick- 
ing to the letter of the Tyranni 
military code, he had refused to 
allow them aboard ship without the 
permission of his commanding offi- 
cer. If the Director himself had de- 
manded permission to enter, he 
would have to deny it. But in the 
meantime, they had closed in upon 
him, and by the time he realized 
he should have followed the mili- 
tary code still more closely and had 
his weapon ready, it was too late. 
A neuronic whip was practically 
touching his chest. 

Nor had he given in tamely, even 
then. It had taken a whip-blast at 
his chest to stop him. And even so, 
he could face only courtmartial and 
conviction. No one doubted that, 
least of all the soldier. 

THEY had landed two days later 
at the outskirts of the city of 
Southwark. It had been chosen de- 
liberately because it lay far from 
the main centers of Rhodian popu- 
lation. The Tyrannian soldier had 
been strapped into a repulsion unit 

and allowed to flutter downward 
some fifty miles from the nearest 
sizable town. 

The landing, on an empty beach, 
was only mildly jerky, and Biron, 
as the one least likely to be recog- 
nized, made the necessary pur- 
chases. Such Rhodian currency as 
Gillbret had had the presence of 
mind to bring with him had scarce- 
ly sufficed for elementary needs, 
since much of it went for a little 
bi-wheel and tow-cart, on which 
Biron could carry the supplies away 

"You might have stretched the 
money further," said Artemisia, "if 
you hadn't wasted so much of it on 
the Tyranni mush you bought." 

"There was nothing else to do," 
said Biron, hotly. "It may be Ty- 
ranni mush to you, but it's a well- 
balanced food, and will see us 
through better than anything else I 
could have gotten." 

He was annoyed. It had been 
stevedore's work, getting all that 
stuff out of the city and then aboard 
ship. And it had meant a consider- 
able risk, buying it at one of the 
Tyranni-run commissaries in the 
city. He had expected appreciation, 
not carping. 

There was no alternative, actual- 
ly. The Tyranni forces had evolved 
an entire technique of supply 
adapted entirely to the fact that they 
used tiny ships. They couldn't afford 
the huge storage spaces of other 
fleets, which were stacked with the 
carcasses of whole animals, neatly 



hung in rows. They ha* to develop 
a„ standard food-concentrate con- 
taining what was necessary in the 
way of calories and food-factors and 
let it .go at that. It took up only 
one-twentieth of the space that an 
equivalent supply of natural animal 
food would take, and it could be 
piled up in the low-temperature 
storeroom like packaged bricks. 


r ELL, it tastes awful," said 

"You'll get used to it," retorted 
Biron, mimicking her petulance, so 
that she flushed and turned away 

What was bothering her, Biron 
knew, was simply the lack of space 
and all that accompanied the lack. 
It wasn't just a question of using 
a monotonous food-stock because, 
in that way, more calories could be 
packed to the cubic inch. It was 
that there were no separate sleeping 
rooms, for instance. There were the 
engine rooms and the control room, 
which took up most of the ship's 
space. (After all, Biron thought, 
this is a warship, not a pleasure 
yacht.) Then there were the store- 
room, and one small cabin, with 
two tiers of three bunks on either 
side. The plumbing was located in 
a little niche just outside the cabin. 

It meant crowding; it meant a 
complete absence of privacy; and it 
meant that Artemisia would have to 
adjust herself to the fact that there 
were no women's clothes aboard, 
no mirrors, no washing facilities. 

Well, she would have to get used 
to it. Biron felt that he had done 
enough for her, gone sufficiently 
out of his way. Why couldn't she 
be pleasant about it, and smile once 
in a while? She had a nice smile, 
and he had to admit she wasn't bad 
outside her temper. But, oh, that 
temper ! 

Well, why waste his time think- 
ing about her? 

The water situation was the 
worst. Tyrann was a desert planet 
in the first place, where water was 
at a premium and men knew its 
value, so none was included on 
board ship for washing purposes. 
Soldiers could wash themselves and 
their personal effects once they had 
landed on a planet. During trips, a 
little grime and sweat would not 
hurt them. Even for drinking pur- 
poses, water was barely sufficient 
for the longer trips. After all, wa- 
ter could be neither concentrated 
nor dehydrated, but had to be car- 
ried in bulk, the problem being 
aggravated by the fact that the wa- 
ter content of the food concentrates 
was quite low. 

There were distilling devices to 
re-use water lost by the body, but 
Biron, when he realized their func- 
tion, felt squeamish and arranged 
for the disposal of waste products 
without attempt at water recovery. 
Chemically, it was a sensible pro- 
cedure, but one has to be educated 
into that sort of thing. 

The second takeoff was, com- 
paratively, a model of smooth- 



ness, and Biron spent time playing 
with the controls afterward. The 
control board resembled only in the 
dimmest fashion those of the ships 
he had handled on Earth. It had 
been compressed and compacted 
frightfully. As Biron puzzled out 
the action of a contact or the pur- 
pose of a dial, he wrote minute di- 
rections on paper and pasted them 
appropriately on the board. 

Gillbret entered the pilot room. 

Biron looked over his shoulder. 
"Artemisia's in the cabin, I sup- 

"There isn't any place else she 
could be and stay inside the ship." 

Biron said, "When you see her, 
tell her I'll make up a bunk here in 
the pilot room. I'd advise you to do 
the same, and let her have the cabin 
to herself." He muttered, "It wasn't 
bad enough — we had to bring along 
a damn girl." * 

"You have your moments, too, 
Biron," said Gillbret. "You'll have 
to remember the sort of life she's 
used to." 

"All right, I do remember it, and 
so what? What sort of life do you 
think I'm used to? I wasn't born 
in the mine fields of some asteroidal 
belt, you know. I was born on the 
biggest ranch of Nephelos. But if 
you're caught in a situation, you've 
got to make the best of it. Damn it, 
I can't stretch the hull of the ship. 
It will hold just so much food and 
water, and I can't do anything about 
the fact that there isn't any shower. 
She picks on me as if I personally 

manufactured this ship." It was a 
relief to shout at Gillbret. It was a 
relief to shout at anybody. 

The door opened again, and 
Artemisia stood there. She. said, 
freezingly, "I would refrain, Mr. 
Farrill, from shouting if I were 
you. You can be distinctly heard 
all over the ship." 

"That," said Biron, "does not 
bother me. And if the ship bothers 
you, just remember that if your 
father hadn't tried to kill me off 
and marry you off, neither one of 
us would be here." 

"Don't you criticize my father." 
"I'll criticize anyone I please." 
Gillbret put his hands over his 
ears. "Please!" 

IT BROUGHT a brief halt. Gill- 
bret said, "Shall we discuss the 
matter of our destination now? It's 
obvious at this point that the 
sooner we're somewhere else and 
get out of this ship, the more com- 
fortable we'll be." 

"I agree with you there, Gil," 
said Biron. "Just let's go somewhere 
where I don't have to listen to her 
clacking. Talk about women on 

Artemisia ignored him and ad- 
dressed Gillbret exclusively. "Why 
don't we get out of the Nebular 
area altogether?" 

"I don't know about you," said 
Biron, at once, "but I've got to get 
my Ranch back and do a little some- 
thing about my father's murder. I'll 
stay in the Kingdoms, thanks." 



"I did not mean," said Artemisia, 
"that we were to leave forever; 
only till the worst of the search was 
over. I don't see what you intend 
doing about your Ranch, anyway. 
You can't get it back unless the 
Tyranni Empire is broken to pieces, 
and I can't see you doing that." 

"You never mind what I intend 
doing. It's my business." 

"Might I make a suggestion?" 
asked Gillbret, mildly. He took si- 
lence for consent, and went on, 
"Then suppose I tell you where we 
ought to go, and exactly what we 
ought to do to help break the Em- 
pire to pieces, just as Arta said." 

"Oh? How do you propose do- 
ing that?" said Biron. 

Gillbret smiled. "My dear boy, 
you're taking a very amusing atti- 
tude. Don't you trust me? You look 
at me as though you think that any 
enterprise I might be interested in 
was bound to be a foolish one. I 
got you out of the Palace, you 

"I know that. I'm perfectly will- 
ing to listen to you." 

"Do so then. I've been waiting 
for over twenty years for my chance 
to get away from them. If I had 
been a private citizen, I could have 
done it Jong since; but, through the 
curse of birth, I've been in the pub- 
lic eye. And yet if it hadn't been 
for the fact that I was born a Hin- 
riad, I would not have attended the 
coronation of the present Khan of 
Tyrann, and in that case I would 
never have stumbled on the secret 

which will someday destroy that 
same Khan." 

"Go on," said Biron. 

"The trip from Rhodia to Ty- 
rann was by Tyranni warship, of 
course, as was the trip back. A ship 
like this, I might say, but rather 
larger. The trip there was unevent- 
ful. The stay on Tyrann had its 
points of amusement, but, for our 
purposes now, was likewise un- 
eventful. On the trip back, how- 
ever, a meteor hit us." 


GILLBRET held up a hand. "I 
know it's an unlikely acci- 
dent. The incidence of meteors in 
space, especially in interstellar 
space, is low enough to make the 
chances of collision with a ship 
completely insignificant, but it does 
happen, as you know. And it did 
happen in this case. Of course any 
meteor that does hit, even when it 
is the size of a pinhead, as most of 
them are, can penetrate the hull of 
any but the most heavily armored 

"I know," said Biron. "It's a 
question of their momentum, which 
is a product of their mass and 
velocity. The velocity more than 
makes up for their lack of mass." 
He recited it glumly, like a school 
lesson, and caught himself watch- 
ing Artemisia furtively. 

She had seated herself to listen 
to Gillbret, and she .vas so dose 
that they were almost touching. It 
occurred to Biron that her profile 



was beautiful as she sat there, even 
if her hair was becoming a little 
bedraggled. She wasn't wearing her 
little jacket, and the fluffy white- 
ness of her blouse was still smooth 
and unwrinkled after forty-eight 
hours. He wondered how she man- 
aged to do that. 

The trip, he decided, could be 
quite wonderful if she would only 
learn to behave herself. The trouble 
was that no one had ever controlled 
her properly, that was all. Certain- 
ly not her father. She'd become too 
used to having her own way. If 
she'd been born a commoner, she 
would have been a very lovely crea- 

HE WAS just beginning to slip 
into a daydream in which be 
controlled her properly and brought 
her to a state of proper- apprecia- 
tion of himself, when she turned 
her head and met his eye calmly. 
Biron looked away and fastened his 
attention instantly on Gillbret. He 
had missed a few sentences. 

"1 haven't the slightest idea why 
the ship's screen had tailed. It was 
just one of those things to which 
no one will ever know the answer, 
but it had failed. • Anyway, the me- 
teor struck amidships. It was 
pebble-size and piercing the hull 
slowed it just sufficiently so that it 
couldn't blaze its way out again 
through the other side. If it had 
done that, there would have been 
little harm to it, since the hull could 
be temporarily patched in no time. 

"As it was, however, it plunged 
into the control room, ricocheted 
off the far wall and slammed back 
and forth till it came to a halt. It 
couldn't have taken more than a 
fraction of a minute to do so, but 
at an original velocity of a hundred 
miles a minute, it must have criss- 
crossed the room a hundred times. 
Both crewmen were cut to pieces, 
and I escaped only because I was in 
the cabin at the time. 

"I heard the thin clang of the 
meteor when it originally penetrat- 
ed the hull, then the click-clack of 
its bouncing and the terrifying 
short screams of the two crew men. 
When I jumped into the control 
room, there was only the blood 
everywhere and the t^rn flesh. The 
things that happened next I remem- 
ber only vaguely, although for 
years I lived it over step by step in 
my nightmares. 

"The cold sound of escaping air 
led me to the meteor hole. I slapped 
a disk of metal over it and air pres- 
sure made a decent seal of it. I 
found the little battered space- 
pebble on the floor. It was warm to 
the touch, but I hit it with a span- 
ner and split it in two. The exposed 
interior frosted over instantly. It 
was still at the temperature of space. 

"I tied a cord to the wrist of 
each corpse and then fastened each 
cord to a towing magnet. I dumped 
them through the airlock, heard the 
magnets clank against the hold, and 
knew that the hard-frozen bodies 
would follow the ship now where- 



ever it went. You see, I knew I 
would need the evidence of their 
bodies to show that it had been the 
meteor that had killed them and 
not I, once we returned to Rhodia. 

"But how was I to return? I was 
quite helpless. There was no way / 
could run the ship, and there was 
nothing I dared try there in the 
depths of interstellar space. I didn't 
even know how to use the sub- 
etheric communication system, so 
that I couldn't SOS. I could only 
let the ship travel on its own 

"But you couldn't very well do 
that, could you?" Biron asked. He 
wondered if Gillbret were invent- 
ing this, either out of simple ro- 
mantic imaginings or for some se- 
verely practical reason of his own. 
"What about the Jumps through 
hyperspace? You must have man- 
aged those, or you wouldn't be 

"A Tyranni ship," said Gillbret, 
"once the controls are properly set, 
will make any number of Jumps 
quite automatically." 

Biron stared his disbelief. Did 
Gillbret take him for a fool? 
"You're making that up," he said. 

"I am not. It's one of the damned 
military advances which won their 
wars for them. They didn't defeat 
fifty planetary systems, outnumber- 
ing Tyrann by hundreds of times 
in population and resources, just 
by playing mumbledy-peg, you 
know. Sure, they tackled us one at 
a time, and utilized our traitors very 

skillfully, but . they had a definite 
military edge as well. Everyone 
knows that their tactics were supe- 
rior to ours, and part of that was 
due to the automatic Jump. It meant 
a great increase in the maneuver- 
ability of their ships and made 
possible much more elaborate battle 
plans than any we could set up. 

"It's one of their best-kept se- 
crets, this technique of theirs. I 
never learned it until I was trapped 
alone on the Bloodsucker (the Ty- 
ranni have the most annoying cus- 
tom of naming their ships 
unpleasantly, though I suppose it's 
good psychology) and watched it 
happen. I ivatcbed it make the 
Jumps without a hand on the con- 

"And you mean to say that this 
ship can do that, too?" 

"I don't know. I wouldn't be 

BIRON turned to the control 
board. There were still dozens 
of contacts he had not determined 
the slightest use for. Well, later! 

He turned to Gillbret again. 
"And the ship took you home?" 

"No, it didn't. When that meteor 
wove its pattern through the con- 
trol room, it didn't leave the board 
untouched. It would have been a 
most amusing coincidence if it had. 
Dials were smashed, the casing 
battered and dented. There was no 
way of telling how the previous set- 
ting of the controls had been 
altered, but it must have been 



somehow, because it never took me 
back to Rhodia. 

"Eventually, of course, it began 
deceleration, and I knew the trip 
was theoretically over. I couldn't 
tell where I was, but I managed to 
maneuver the visiplate so that I 
could tell there was a planet close 
enough to show a disc in the ship 
telescope. It was blind luck, because 
the disc was increasing in size. The 
ship was heading for the planet. 

"Oh, not directly. That would be 
too impossible to hope for. If I had 
just drifted, the ship would have 
missed the planet by a million miles, 
at least, but at that distance I could 
use ordinary etheric radio. I knew 
how to do that. It was after this 
was all over that I began educating 
myself in electronics. I made up my 
mind that I would never be quite so 
helpless again. Being helpless is 
one of the things that isn't alto- 
gether amusing." 


IRON prompted, "So you used 
the radio." 

"Exactly, and they came and got 


"The men of the planet. It was 

"Well, the luck piles up. What 
planet was it?" 

"I don't know." 

"You mean they didn't tell you?" 

"Amusing, isn't it? They didn't. 
But it was somewhere among the 
Nebular Kingdoms!" 

"How did you know that?" 

"Because they knew the ship I 
was in was a Tyranni vessel. They 
knew that by sight, and almost 
blasted it before I could convince 
them I was the only one on board 

Biron put his large hands on his 
knees and kneaded them. "Now 
hold on and pull back. I don't un- 
derstand this. If they knew it was a 
Tyranni vessel and intending blast- 
ing it, isn't that the best proof that 
the world was not in the Nebular 
Kingdoms? Anywhere in the Gal- 
axy but there." 

"No, by the Galaxy." Gillbret's 
eyes were shining, and his voice 
climbed in enthusiasm. "It was in 
the Kingdoms. They took me to the 
surface and what a world it was! 
There were men there from all over 
the Kingdoms. I could tell by the 
accents. And they had no fear of 
the Tyranni. The place was an 
arsenal. You couldn't tell from 
space. It might externally have been 
a rundown- farming world, but the 
real life of the planet was under- 
ground. Somewhere in the King- 
doms, my boy, someivbere, there is 
that planet still and it is not afraid 
of the Tyranni and it is going to 
destroy the Tyranni as it would 
have destroyed the ship I was on 
then, if the crew men had been 
still alive." 

Biron felt his heart bound. 

For a moment, he wanted des- 
perately to believe. 

After all, maybe. 

Maybe ! 




And Maybe Not! 

BIRON said, "How did you 
learn all this about its being 
an arsenal? How long did you stay? 
What did you see?" 

Gillbret grew impatient. "It 
wasn't exactly what I saw at all. 
They didn't conduct me on any 
tours, or anything like that." He 
forced himself to relax. "Well, 
look, this is what happened. By the 
time they got me off the ship, I 
was in more or less of a bad state. 
I had been too frightened to eat 
much (it's a terrible thing, being 
marooned in space) and I must 
have looked worse than I really 

"I identified myself, more or less, 
and they took me underground. 
With the ship, of course. I suppose 
they were more interested in the 
ship than in myself. It gave them a 
chance to study Tyranni spatio-en- 
gineering. They took me to what 
must have been a hospital." 

"But what did you see, uncle?" 
asked Artemisia. 

Biron interrupted, "Hasn't he 
ever told you this before?" 

Artemisia said, "No." 

And Gillbret added, "I've never 
told anyone till now. I was taken 
to a hospital, as I said. I passed re- 
search laboratories in that hospital 
that must have been better than any- 
thing we have on Rhodia. On the 
way to the hospital I passed fac- 

tories in which some sort of metal- 
work was going on. The ships that 
had captured me were certainly like 
none I've ever heard about. 

"It was all so apparent fo me at 
the time that I have never ques- 
tioned it in the years since. I think 
of it as my 'rebellion world,' and 
I know that someday swarms of 
ships will leave it to attack the Ty- 
ranni, and that the subject worlds 
will be called upon to rally round 
the rebel leaders. From year to year 
I've waited for it to happen. Each 
new year I've thought to myself: 
This may be the one. And each 
time, I half hoped it wouldn't be, 
because I was longing to get away 
first, to join them so that I might 
be part of the great attack. I didn't 
want' them to start without me." 

He laughed shakily. "I suppose 
it would have amused most people 
to know what was going on in my 
mind. In my mind. Nobody thought 
much of me, you know." , 

Biron said, "All this happened 
over twenty years ago, and they 
haven't attacked? There's been no 
sign of them? No strange ships 
have been reported? No incidents? 
And you still think — " 

Gillbret fired at him, "Yes, I do. 
Twenty years isn't too long to or- 
ganize a rebellion against a planet 
that rules fifty systems. I was there 
just at the beginning of the rebel- 
lion. I know that, too. Slowly, since 
then, the}- must have been honey- 
combing the planet with their un- 
derground preparations, developing 



newer ships and weapons, training 
more men, organizing the attack. 

"It's only in the video-thrillers 
that men spring to arms at a mo- 
ment's notice, that a new weapon is 
needed one day, invented the next, 
mass-produced the third and used 
the fourth. These things take time, 
Biron, and the men of the 'rebel- 
lion world' must know they will 
have to be completely ready before 
beginning. They won't be able to 
strike twice. 

"And what do you call 'inci- 
dents?' Tyranni ships have disap- 
peared and never been found. Space 
is big, you might say, and they 
might simply be lost, but what if 
they were captured by the rebels? 
^There was the case of the Tireless 
two years back. It reported a 
strange object close enough to 
stimulate the massometer, and then 
was never heard of again. It could 
have been a meteor, but was it?" 

"The search lasted months. They 
never found it. / think the rebels 
have it. The Tireless was a new 
ship, an experimental model. It 
would be just what they would 

BIRON said, "Once having 
landed there, why didn't you 

"Don't you suppose I wanted to? 
I had no chance. I listened to them 
when they thought I was uncon- 
scious, and I learned a bit more 
then. They were just starting at that 
time. They couldn't afford to be 

found out then. They knew I was 
Gillbret oth Hinriad. There was 
enough identification on the ship, 
even if I hadn't told them myself, 
which I had. They knew that if I 
didn't return to Rhodia there would 
be a full-scale search that would 
not readily come to a halt. 

"They couldn't risk such a 
search, so they had to see to it that 
I was returned to Rhodia. And 
that's where they took me." 

"What?" cried Biron. "But that 
must have been an even greater 
risk. How did they do that?" 

"I don't know." Gillbret passed 
his thin fingers through his gray- 
ing hair, and his eyes seemed to be 
probing uselessly into tlie backward 
stretches of his memory. "They 
anesthetized me, I suppose. That 
part all blanks out. Past a certain 
point there is nothing. I can only 
remember that I opened my eyes 
and was back in the Bloodsucker. I 
was in space, just off Rhodia." 

"The two dead crewmen were 
still attached by the tow magnets? 
They hadn't been removed on the 
'rebellion world?' " asked Biron. 

"They were still there." 

"Was there any evidence at all 
to indicate that you had been on 
the 'rebellion world?' " 

"None, except for what I remem- 

"How did you know you were 
oft Rhodia?" 

"I didn't. I knew I was near a 
planet; the massometer said so. I 
used the radio again, and this time 



it was Rhodian ships that came for 
me. I told my story to the Tyran- 
nian Commissioner of that day, 
with appropriate modifications. I 
made no mention of the 'rebellion 
world,' of course. And I said the 
meteor had hit just after the last 
Jump. I didn't want them to think 
I knew that a Tyrannian ship could 
make the Jumps automatically." 

"Do you think the 'rebellion 
world' found out that little fact? 
Did you tell them?" 

"I didn't tell them. I had no 
chance. I wasn't there long enough. 
Conscious, that is. But I don't know 
how long I was unconscious and 
what they managed to find out for 

Biron stared at the visiplate. 
Judging from the rigidity of the 
picture it presented, the ship they 
were on might have been nailed in 
space. The Remorseless was travel- 
ing at the rate of ten thousand miles 
an hour, but that was nothing to 
the immense distances of space. The 
stars were hard, bright and mo- 
tionless. They had a hypnotic qual- 
ity about them. 

He said, "Then where are we 
going? I take it you still don't know 
where the "rebellion world' is?" 

"I don't. B.ut I have an idea who 
would be in charge. I am almost 
sure I know who would be in 
charge." Gillbret was eager about 


"The Autarch of Lingane." 

"Lingane?" Biron frowned. He 

had heard the name some time 
back, it seemed to him, but he had 
forgotten the connection. "Why 

"Lingane was the last Kingdom 
captured by the Tyranni. It is not, 
shall we say, as pacified as the rest. 
Doesn't that make sense?" 

"As far as it goes. But how far 
is that?" 

"If you want another reason, 
there is your father." 

"My father?" For a moment, 
Biron forgot that his father was 
dead. He saw him standing before 
his mind's eyes, large and alive, 
but then he remembered and there 
was that same cold wrench inside 
Tiim. "How does my father come 
into this?" 

"He was at court six months ago. 
I gained certain notions as to what 
he wanted. Some of his talks with 
my cousin, Hinrik, I overheard." 

"Oh, uncle," said Artemisia, im- 

"My dear?" 

"You had no right to eavesdrop 
on father's private discussions." 

GILLBRET shrugged. "Of 
course not, but it was amusing, 
and useful as well." 

Biron interrupted, "Now wait. 
You say it was six months ago that 
my father was at Rhodia?" He felt 
excitement mount. 


"Tell me. While there, did he 
have access to the Director's collec- 
tion of Primitivism? You told me 



once that the Director had a large 
library of matters concerning 

"I imagine so. The library is 
quite famous and it is usually made 
available to distinguished visitors, 
if they're interested. They usually 
aren't, but your father was. Yes, I 
remember that very well. He spent 
nearly a day there." 

That checked. It had been half 
a year ago that his father had first 
asked his help. Biron said, "You 
yourself know the library well, I 

"Of course." 

"Is there anything in the library 
that would suggest that there ex-^ 
ists a document on Earth of great 
military value?" 

Gillbret was blank of face; ob- 
viously, blank of mind. 

Biron said, "Somewhere in the 
last centuries of prehistoric Earth 
there must have been such a docu- 
ment. I can only tell you that my 
father thought it to be the most 
valuable single item in the Galaxy, 
and the deadliest. I was to have 
gotten it for him, but I left Earth 
before I could, and in any case," his 
voice faltered, "he died too soon." 

But Gillbret was still blank. "I 
don't know what you're talking 

"My father mentioned it to me 
first six months ago. He must have 
learned of it in the library on 
Rhodia. If you've been through it 
yourself, can't you tell me what it 
was he must have learned?" 

But Gillbret could only shake his 

Biron said, "Well, continue with 
your story." 

"They spoke of the Autarch of 
Lingane, your father and my 
cousin," Gillbret said. "Despite 
your father's cautious phraseology, 
Biron, it was obvious that the Au- 
tarch was the organizer of the con- 

"And then," he hesitated, "there 
was a mission from Lingane and the 
Autarch himself was at its head. 
I — I told him of the 'rebellion 
world.' " 

"You said a while ago you told 
nobody," Biron objected. 

"Except the Autarch. I bad to 
know the truth." 

"What did he tell you?" 

"Practically nothing. But. then, 
he had to be cautious, too. Could 
he trust me? I might have been 
working for the Tyranni. How 
could he know ? But he didn't close 
the door altogether. It's our only 

"Is it?" Biron said. "Then we'll 
go to Lingane. One place, I sup- 
pose, is like another." 

Mention of his father had de- 
pressed him, and, for the moment, 
nothing mattered much. Let it be 

LET it be Lingane! That was 
easy to say. But how does one 
go about pointing the ship at a tiny 
speck of light thirty-five light years 
away? Two hundred trillion miles. 



A two with seventeen zeroes after 
it. At ten thousand miles an hour, 
(current cruising speed of the Re- 
morseless) it would take well over 
two million years to get there. 

Biron leafed through the "Stand- 
ard Galactic Ephemeris" with 
something like despair. Tens of 
thousands of stars were listed in 
detail, with their positions crammed 
into three figures. There were hun- 
dreds, of pages of these figures, 
symbolized by the Greek letters 
rho, theta, and phi. 

Rho was the distance from the 
Galactic Center in parsecs; theta, 
the angular separation, along the 
plane of the Galactic Lens from the 
Standard Galactic Baseline (the 
line, that is, which connects the 
Galactic Center and the sun of the 
planet Earth); phi, the angular 
separation from the Baseline in the 
plane perpendicular to that of the 
Galactic Lens, the two latter meas- 
urements being expressed in rad- 
ians. Given those three figures, one 
could locate any star accurately in 
all the vast immensity of space. 

THAT is, on a given date. In ad- 
dition to the star's position on 
the day for which all the data 
were calculated, one had to know 
the star's proper motion, both 
speed and direction. It was a small 
correction, comparatively, but nec- 
essary. A million miles is virtually 
nothing compared with stellar dis- 
tances, but a long way with a ship. 
There was, of course, the ques- 

tion of the ship's own position. One 
could calculate the distance from 
Rhodia by the reading of the mass- 
ometer, or, more correctly, the 
distance from Rhodia's sun, since 
this far out in space the sun's gravi- 
tational field drowned out that of 
any of its planets. The direction 
they were traveling along with ref- 
erence to the Galactic Baseline was 
more difficult to determine. Biron 
had to locate two known stars other 
than Rhodia's sun. From their ap- 
parent positions and the known dis- 
tance from Rhodia's sun, he could 
plot their actual position. 

It was roughly done, but, he felt 
sure, accurately enough. Knowing 
his own position and that of Lin- 
gane's sun, It was only a matter of 
adjusting the controls for the 
proper direction and strength of the 
hyperatomic thrust. 

Biron felt lonely and tense. Not 
frightened. He rejected the word. 
But tense, definitely. He was de- 
liberately calculating the elements 
of the Jump for six hours later. He 
wanted plenty of time to check his 
figures. And perhaps there might 
be the chance for a nap. He had 
dragged the bedding out of the 
cabin and it was ready for him. 

The other two were, presumably, 
sleeping in the cabin. He told him- 
self that that was a good thing and 
that he wanted nobody around both- 
ering him, yet when he heard the 
small sound of bare feet outside, he 
looked up with involuntary eager- 



"Hello," he said. "Why aren't 

you sleeping?" 

Artemisia stood in the doorway, 

hesitating. She said, in a small 

voice, "Do you mind if I come in? 

Will I be bothering you?" 
"It depends on what you do." 
"I'll try to do the right things." 
She seemed too humble, Biron 

thought suspiciously, and then the 

reason for it came out. 

"I'm awfully frightened," she 

said. "Aren't you?" 

He wanted to say no, not at all, 
but it didn't come out that way. He 
smiled sheepishly and said, "Sort 

Oddly enough, that comforted 
her. She knelt down on the floor 
beside him, and looked at the thick 
volumes opened before him and at 
the sheets of calculations. 

"They had all these books here?" 

"You bet. They couldn't pilot a 
ship without them." 

"And you understand all that?" 



"Not all that. I wish I did. I 
hope I understand enough. We'll 
have to Jump to Lingane, you 

"Is that hard to do?" 

"No, not if you know the fig- 
ures, which are all here, and have 
the controls which are all there, and 
if you have experience, which I 
haven't. For instance, it should be 
done in several Jumps, but I'm go- 
ing to try it in one because there'll 
be less chance of trouble, even 
though it means a waste of energy." 

He shouldn't tell her; there was 
no point in telling her; it would be. 
cowardly to frighten her; and she'd 
be hard to handle if she got really 
frightened, panicky frightened. He 
kept telling himself all that and it 
did no good. He wanted to share it 
with somebody. He wanted part of 
it off his own mind. 

He said, "There are some things 
I should know that I don't. Things 
like the mass-density between here 
and Lingane affect the course of 
the Jump, because that mass density 
is what controls the curvature of 
this part of the universe. The 
'Ephemeris' — that's this big book 
here — mentions the curvature cor- 
rections that must be made in cer- 
tain standard Jumps and from that 
you're supposed to be able to cal- 
culate out your own particular cor- 
rections. But then if you happen to 
have a super-giant star within ten 
light years, all bets are off. I'm not 
even sure if I used the computer 

"But what would happen if you 
were wrong?" 

"We could re-enter space too 
close to Lingane's sun." 

She considered that, then said, 
"You have no idea how much better 
I feel." 

"After what I've just said?" 

"Of course. In my bunk, I simply 
felt helpless and lost, with so much 
emptiness in all directions. Now I 
know that we're going somewhere 
and that the emptiness is under our 

"I don't know about its being 
under our control," Biron said 

She stopped him. "It is. I know 
you can handle the ship." 

And Biron decided that maybe 
he "might at that. 

ARTEMISIA had tucked her 
legs under her and sat facing 
him. She said, "You know, I had 
an awfully queer sensation in the 
bunk, almost as if I were floating. » 
That was one of the things that 
frightened me. Every time I'd turn, 
I'd give a queer little jump into the 
air and then flop back slowly as if 
there were springs in the air hold- 
ing me back." 

"You were sleeping in a top 

"Yes. The bottom ones give me 
claustrophobia, with another mat- 
tress only six inches over my 

Biron laughed. "Then that ex- 
plains it. The ship's gravitational 



force is directed toward its base, 
and falls off as you move away from 
it. In the top bunk, you were prob- 
ably twenty or thirty pounds lighter 
than on the floor. Were you ever 
on a passenger liner? A really big 

"Once. When father and I visit- 
ed Tyrann last year." 

"Well, on the liners they have 
the gravitation in all parts of the 
ship directed toward the outer hull, 
so that the long axis of the ship is 
always 'up,' no matter where you 
are. That's why the motors of one 
of those big ships are always lined 
up in a cylinder running right along 
the long axis. No gravity there." 

"It must take an awful lot of 
power to keep an artificial gravity 

"Enough to power a small 

"There isn't any danger of our 
running short of fuel, is there?" 

"Don't worry about that. Ships 
are fueled by the total conversion 
of mass to energy. Fuel is the last 
thing we'll run out of. The outer 
hull will wear away first." 

She was facing him. (He noted 
that her face had been cleaned of 
its makeup and wondered how that 
had been done; probably with a 
handkerchief and as little of the 
drinking water as she could man- 
age. She didn't suffer as a result, 
for her clear white skin was the 
more startlingly perfect against the 
black of her hair and eyes. Her eyes 
were very warm, thought Biron. 

The silence had lasted a little too 
long. He said, hurriedly, "You 
don't travel very much, do you? I 
mean, you were on a liner only 

SHE nodded. "Once too often. 
If we hadn't gone to Tyrann, 
that filthy chamberlain wouldn't 
have seen me and — I don't want to 
talk about that." 

Biron let it go. He said, "Is that 
usual? I mean, not traveling?" 

"I'm afraid so. Father is always 
hopping around on state visits, 
opening agricultural expositions, 
dedicating buildings. He usually 
just makes some speech that Ara- 
tap writes for him. As for the rest 
of us, however, the more we stay 
in the palace, the better the Tyranni 
like it. Poor Gillbret! The one and 
only time he left Rhodia was to 
attend the Khan's coronation as 
father's representative. They've 
never let him get into a ship again." 

Her eyes were downcast and, 
absently, she pleated the material 
of Biron's sleeve where it ended at 
the wrist. She said, "Biron." 

"Yes — Arta?" He stumbled a 
bit, but it came out. 

"Do you think Uncle Gil's story 
can be true?" 

"I don't know." 

"Do you suppose it could be his 
imagination? He's been brooding 
about the Tyranni for years, and 
he's never been able to do any- 
thing, of course, except to rig up 
spy beams, which is only childish, 



and he knows it. He may have built 
himself a daydream and, over the 
years, gradually come to believe in 
it. I know him, you see." 

"It's possible, but let's follow it 
up a little. We can travel to Lin- 
gane, anyway." 

They were closer to one another. 
He could have reached out and 
touched her, held her in his arms, 
kissed her. 

And he did so. 

It was a complete non sequitur. 
Nothing, it seemed to Biron, had 
led to it. One moment they were 
discussing Jumps and gravity and 
Gillbret, and the next she was soft 
and silky in his arms and soft and 
silky on his lips. 

His first impulse was to say he 
was sorry, to go through all the 
silly motions of apology, but when 
he drew away, and would have 
spoken, she still made no attempt 
at escape but rested her head in the 
crook of his left arm. Her eyes re- 
mained closed. 

So he said nothing at all and 
kissed her again, slowly and thor- 

It was the best thing he could 
have done, and at the time he knew 
it. ' . 

Finally, she said, a bit dreamily, 
"Aren't you hungry? I'll bring you 
some of the concentrate and warm 
it for you. Then, if you want to 
sleep, I can keep an eye on things 
for you. And — and I'd better put 
on more of my clothes." 

She turned as she was about to 

pass out the door. "The food con- 
centrate tastes very nice after you 
get used to it. Thank you for get- 
ting it." 

Somehow that, rather than the 
kisses, was the treaty of peace be- 
tween them. 

WHEN Gillbret entered the 
control room, hours later, he 
showed no surprise at finding Biron 
and Artemisia lost in a foolish kind 
of conversation. He made no re- 
marks about the fact that Biron's 
arm was about his niece's waist. 

He asked, "When are we Jump- 
ing, Biron?" 

"In half an hour," said Biron. 

The half -hour passed; the con- 
trols were set; conversation lan- 
guished and died. 

At zero time, Biron drew a deep 
breath and yanked a lever the full 
length of its arc, from left to right. 

It was not as it had been aboard 
the liner. The Remorseless was 
smaller and the Jump was conse- 
quently less smooth. Biron stag- 
gered and for a split-second things 

And then they were smooth and 
solid again. 

The stars in the visiplate had 
changed. Biron rotated the ship so 
that the star-field lifted, each star 
moving in a stately arc. One star 
appeared finally, brilliantly white 
and more than a point. It was a 
tiny sphere, a burning speck of 
sand. Biron caught it, steadied the 
ship before it was lost again, and 



turned the telescope upon it, 
throwing in the spectroscopic at- 

He turned again to the "Ephe- 
meris," and checked under the col- 
umn headed "Spectral Characteris- 
tics." Then he got out of the pilot's 
chair and said, "It's still too far. 
I'll have to nudge up to it. But 
anyway, that's Lingane right 

It was the first Jump he had ever 
made, and it was successful. 


The Autarch Comes 

THE Autarch of Lingane pon- 
dered the matter, but his cool, 
well-trained features scarcely creased 
under the strain of thought. 

"And you waited forty-eight 
hours to tell me," he accused. 

Rizzett said boldly, "There was 
no reason to tell you earlier. If we 
bombarded you with all matters, 
life would be a burden to you. We 
tell you now, because we still make 
nothing of it. It is queer, and in 
our position, we can afford nothing 

"Repeat this business. Let me 
hear it again." 

The Autarch threw a leg upon 
the flaring window-sill and looked 
outward thoughtfully. The window 
itself represented perhaps the 
greatest single oddity of Linganian 
architecture. It was moderate in size 
and set at the end of a five-foot 

recess that narrowed gently toward 
it. It was extremely clear, immense- 
ly thick and , precisely curved, not 
so much a window as a lens, funnel- 
ing the light inward from all di- 
rections, so that, looking outward, 
one eyed a miniature panorama. 

When the position of the sun 
made the lenslike windows a focus 
for impossible heat and light, they 
were blanked out automatically, 
rather than opened; rendered 
opaque by a shift in the polariza- 
tion characteristics of the glass. 

And certainly the theory that a 
planet's architecture is the reflec- 
tion of a planet's place in the Gal- 
axy would seem to be borne out 
by Lingane and its windows. 

Like the windows, Lingane was 
small, yet commanded a panoramic 
view. It was a "planet-state" in a 
Galaxy, which, at the time, had 
passed beyond that stage of eco- 
nomic and political development. 
Where most political units were 
conglomerations of stellar systems, 
Lingane remained what it had been 
for centuries; a single inhabited 
world. This did not prevent it from 
being wealthy. In fact, it was al- 
most inconceivable that . Lingane 
could be anything else. 

It is difficult to tell in advance 
when a world is so located that 
many Jump-routes may use it as a 
pivotal intermediate point; or even 
must use it in the interests of op- 
timal economy. A great deal de- 
pends on the pattern of develop- 
ment of that region of space. There 



is the question of the distribution 
of the naturally habitable planets; 
the order in which they are colon- 
ized and developed; the types of 
economy they possess. 

Lingane discovered its own 
values early, which was the great 
turning-point of its history. Next 
to the actual possession of a strate- 
gic position, the capacity to appre- 
ciate and exploit that position is 
most important. Lingane had pro- 
ceeded to occupy small planetoids 
with neither resources nor capacity 
for supporting an independent 
population, choosing them only be- 
cause they would help maintain 
Lingane's trade monopoly. They 
built servicing stations on those 
rocks. All that ships could need, 
from hyperatomic replacements to 
new book-reels, could be found 
there. The stations grew to huge 
trading posts. From all the Nebu- 
lar Kingdoms, fur, minerals, grain, 
beef, timber poured in; from the 
Inner Kingdoms, machinery, ap- 
pliances, medicinals, finished prod- 
ucts of all sorts. 

So that, like its windows, Lin- 
gane's minuteness looked out on all 
the Galaxy. It was a planet alone; 
but it did well. 

THE Autarch said turning from 
the window, "Start with the 
mail ship, Rizzett. Where did 
they meet this cruiser in the first 

"Les« than one hundred thousand 
miles off Lingane. The exact co- 

ordinates don't matter. They've 
been watched ever since. The point 
is that even then, the Tyranni 
cruiser was in an orbit about the 

"As though it had no intention 
of landing, but rather was waiting 
for something." 


"No way of telling how long 
they'd been waiting?" 
- "Impossible, I'm afraid. They 
were sighted by no one else. We 
checked thoroughly." 

"Very well," said the Autarch. 
"We'll abandon that for the mo- 
ment. They stopped the mail ship; 
which is, of course, interference 
with the mails and a violation of 
our Articles of Association with 

"I doubt that they were Tyranni. 
Their unsure actions are more those 
of outlaws; of prisoners in flight." 

"You mean the men on the Ty- 
ranni cruiser? It may be what they 
want us to believe, of course. At 
any rate, their only overt action 
was to ask that a message be de- 
livered directly to me." 

"Directly to the Autarch." 

"Nothing else?" 

"Nothing else." 

"They at no time entered the 
mail ship?" 

"All communication was by visi- 
plate. The mail capsule was shot 
across two miles of empty space 
and caught by ship's net." 

"Was it vision communication 
or sound only?" 



"Full vision. That's the point. 
The speaker was described by sev- 
eral as being a young man of 'aris- 
tocratic bearing,' whatever that 

THE Autarch's fist clenched 
slowly. "And no photo-impres- 
sion was taken of the face? That 
was a mistake." 

"Unfortunately there was no 
reason -for the mail captain to have 
anticipated the importance of doing 
so. If any importance exists. Does 
all this mean anything to you, sir?" 

The Autarch did not answer the 
question. "And this is the mes- 

"Exactly. A .tremendous message 
of one word that we were supposed 
to bring directly to you; a thing 
we did not do, of course. It might 
have been a fission capsule, for in- 
stance. Men have been killed that 
way before." 

"Yes, and Autarchs too," said 
the Autarch. "Just the word 'Gill- 
bret.' One word, 'Gillbret.' " 

The Autarch maintained his in- 
different calm, but a lack of cer- 
tainty was gathering and he did not 
like to experience a lack of cer- 
tainty. He liked nothing which 
made him aware of limitations. An 
Autarch should have no limitations, 
and on Lingane he had none that 
natural law did not impose. 

Under the Autarchy, Lingane in- 
creased its wealth and strength. 
Even the Tyranni, attacking thirty 
years earlier at the height of their 

power, had been fought to a stand- 
still. They had not been defeated, 
but they had been stopped. The 
shock, even of that, had been per- 
manent. Not a planet had been con- 
quered by the Tyranni since the 
year they had attacked Lingane. 

Other planets of the Nebular 
Kingdoms were outright vassals of 
the Tyranni. Lingane, however, 
was an Associated State, theoretic- 
ally the equal "Ally" of Tyrann, 
with its rights guarded by the Arti- 
cles of Association. 

The Autarch was not fooled by 
the situation. The chauvinistic of 
the planet might allow themselves 
the luxury of considering them- 
selves free, but the Autarch knew 
that the Tyranni danger had been 
held at arm's-length this past gen- 
eration. Only that far. No farther. 

And now it might be moving in 
quickly for the final, long-delayed 
bear hug. Certainly, he had given 
it the opportunity it was waiting 
for. The organization he had built 
up, ineffectual though it was, was 
sufficient grounds for punitive ac- 
tion of any type the Tyranni might 
care to undertake. Legally, Lingane 
would be in the wrong. 

Was the cruiser the first reaching 
out for the final bear hug? 

The Autarch said, "Has a guard 
been placed on that ship?" 

"I said they were watched. Two 
of our — " he smiled one-sidedly — 
"freighters keep in massometer 

"What do you make of it?" 



"I don't know. The only Gill r 
bret I know whose name by itself 
would mean anything is Gillbret 
oth Hinriad of Rhodia. Have you 
had dealings with him?" 

The Autarch said, "I saw him on 
my last visit to Rhodia." 

"You told him nothing, of 

"Of course." 

Rizzett's eyes narrowed. "I 
thought there might have been a 
certain lack of caution on your part; 
that the Tyranni had been the recip- 
ients of an equal lack of caution on 
the part of this Gillbret— the Hin- 
riads are notable weaklings these 
days — and that this now was a de- 
vice to trap you into final self- 

"I doubt it. It comes at a queer 
time, this business. I have been 
away from Lingane for a year or 
more. I arrived last week and I 
shall leave in a matter of days 
again. A message such as this 
reaches me just when I am in a po- 
sition to be reached." 

"You don't think it is a coinci- 

"I don't believe in coincidence. 
And there is one way in which all 
this would not be coincidence. I 
will therefore visit that ship. 

"Impossible, sir." Rizzett was 
startled. He had a small, uneven 
scar just above his right temple and 
it showed suddenly red. 

"You forbid me?" asked the Au- 
tarch, drily. 

And he was the Autarch, after 
all. Rizzett's face fell and he said, 
"As you please, sir." 

ABOARD the Remorseless, the 
wait was proving increasingly 
unpleasant. For two days, they 
hadn't budged from their orbit. 
Gillbret watched the controls with 
relentless concentration. His voice 
had an edge to it.' 

"Wouldn't you say they were 

Biron looked up briefly. He was 
shaving, and handling the Tyranni 
erosive-spray with finicky care. 

"No," he said, "they're not mov- 
ing. Why should they? They're 
watching us, and they'll keep on 
watching us." 

He concentrated upon the diffi- 
cult area of the upper lip, frown- 
ing impatiently as he felt the 
slightly sour taste of the spray 
upon his tongue. A Tyrannian 
could handle the spray with a grace 
that was almost poetic. It was un- 
doubtedly the quickest and closest 
non-permanent shaving method in 
existence, in the hands of an expert. 
In essence, it was an extremely fine 
air-blown abrasive that scoured off 
the hairs without harming the skin. 
Certainly the skin felt nothing more 
than the gentle pressure of what 
might have been an air-stream. 

Biron was surveying his face in 
the mirror, wondering how he 
would look in sideburns down to 
the angle of the jaw, when Arte- 
misia said from the doorway, "I 



thought you were .going to sleep." 

"I did," he said. "Then I woke 

He looked at her and smiled. 

She patted his cheek, then 
stroked it gently with her fingers, 
"It's smooth. You look about eigh- 

He carried her hand to his lips. 
"Don't let that fool you." 


HE said, "They're still watch- 

"Still watching. Isn't it annoy- 
ing? These damned dull interludes 
that give you time to sit and 

"I don't find this interlude at all 

"You're talking about other as- 
pects of it now, Arta." 

She said, "Why don't we cross 
them up and land on Lingane?" 

"We've thought of it. I don't 
think we're ready for that kind of 
risk. We can afford to wait till the 
water-supply gets a bit lower." 

Gillbret said loudly, "I tell you 
they are moving." 

Biron crossed over to the control 
panel and considered the massome- 
ter readings. 

He looked at Gillbret and said, 
"You may be right." 

He pecked away at the calculator 
for a moment or two and stared at 
its dials. 

"No, the two ships haven't 
moved relative to us, Gillbret. 
What's changed the massometer is 
that a third ship has Joined them. 

As near as I can tell, it's 5,000 miles 
off, about 46 degrees rho and 
192 degrees from the ship-planet 
line, "if I've got the clockwise 
and counterclockwise conventions 
straight. If I haven't, the figures 
are, respectively, 314 and 168 de- 

He paused to take another read- 
ing. "I think they're approaching. 
It's a small ship. Do you think you 
can get in touch with them, Gill- 

"I can try." 

"All right. No vision. Let's 
leave it at sound, till we get some 
notion of what's coming." 

It was amazing to watch Gillbret 
at the controls of the etheric radio. 
He was obviously the possessor of 
a native talent. Contacting an iso- 
lated point in space with a tight 
radio-beam remains, after all, a task 
in which the ship's control panel 
information can participate only 
slightly. He had a notion of the 
distance of the ship which might be 
off by a hundred miles plus-or- 
minus. He had two angles, either 
or both of which might easily be 
wrong by five or six degrees in any 

This left a volume of about ten 
million cubic miles within which 
the ship might be. The rest was 
left to the human operator, and a 
radio beam which was a probing 
finger not half a mile in cross-sec- 
tion at the widest point of its re- 
ceivable range. It was said that a 
skilled operator could tell by the 



feel of the controls how closely the 
beam missed the target. Scientific- 
ally, that theory is nonsense, of 
course, but it often seemed that no 
other explanation was possible. 

In less than ten minutes, the ac- 
tivity gauge of the radio was jump- 
ing and the Remorseless was both 
sending and receiving. 

In another ten minutes, Biron 
could lean back and say, "They're 
going to send a man aboard." 

"Ought we to let them?" asked 

"Why not? One man? We're 

"But if we let their ship get too 

"We're a Tyrannian cruiser, Arta. 
We've got three to five times their 
power, even if they are the best war- 
ship Lingane had. They're not al- 
lowed too much by their precious 
Articles of Association, and we've 
got five high-caliber blasters." 

Artemisia said, "Do you know 
how to use the Tyranni blasters? I 
didn't know you did." 

Biron hated to turn the admira- 
tion off, but he said, "Unfortunate- 
ly, I don't. At least, not yet. But 
then the Linganian ship won't 
know that, you see." 

HALF an hour later, the visi- 
plate showed a visible ship. 
It was a stubby little craft, fitted 
with two sets of four fins as though 
it were frequently called upon to 
double for stratospheric flight. 
At its first appearance in the 

telescope, Gillbret had shouted in 
delight, "That's the Autarch's 
yacht," and his face wrinkled into 
a grin. "It's his private yacht. I'm 
sure of it. I told you that the bare 
mention of my name was the surest 
way to get his attention." 

There was the period of decelera- 
tion and adjustment of velocity on 
the part of the Linganian ship, un- 
til it hung motionless in the 'plate. 

A thin voice came from the re- 
ceiver: "Ready for boarding?" 

"Ready!" said Biron. "One per- 
son only." 

"One person," came the re- 

It was like a snake uncoiling, the 
metal-mesh rope looping outward 
from the Linganian ship, shooting 
at them harpoon-fashion. Its thick- 
ness expanded in the visiplate and 
the magnetized cylinder that ended 
it approached and grew in size. As 
it grew closer, it edged toward rim 
of the cone of vision, then veered 
off completely. 

The sound of its contact was 
hollow and reverberant. The mag- 
netized weight was anchored, and 
the line was a spider-thread that did 
not sag in a normal weighted curve 
but retained whatever kinks and 
loops it had possessed at the mo- 
ment of contact. These moved 
slowly forward as units under the 
influence of inertia. 

Easily and carefully, the Lingan- 
ian ship edged away and the line 
straightened. It hung there then, 
taut and fine, thinning into space 



until it was an almost invisible 
thing, glittering with incredible 
daintiness in the light of Lingane's 

Biron threw in the telescopic at- 
tachment, which bloated the ship 
monstrously in the field of vision, 
so that one could see the origin of 
the half-mile length of connecting 
line, and the little figure that was 
beginning to swing hand over hand 
along it. 

It was not the usual form of 
boarding. Ordinarily, two ships 
would maneuver to near-contact, so 
that extensible airlocks could meet 
and merge under intense magnetic 
fields. A tunnel through space 
would thus connect the ships and 
a man could travel from one to the 
other with no further protection 
than he needed to wear aboard ship. 
Naturally, this form of boarding 
required mutual trust. 

By space-line, one was dependent 
upon his spacesuit. The approaching 
Linganian was bloated in his; a fat 
thing of air-extended metal mesh, 
the joints of which required no 
. small muscular effort to work. Even 
at the distance at which he was, 
Biron could see his arms flex with 
a snap as the joint gave and came 
to rest in a new groove. 

And the mutual velocities of the 
two ships had to be carefully ad- 
justed. An inadvertent acceleration 
on the part of either would tear the 
line loose and send the traveler 
tumbling through space under the 
easy grip of the faraway sun and of 

the initial impulse of the snapping 
line — with nothing, neither friction 
nor obstruction, to stop him this 
side of eternity. 

The approaching Linganian 
moved on confidently and quickly. 
When he came closer it was easy 
to see that it was not a simple hand 
over hand procedure. Each time the 
forward hand flexed, pulling him 
on, he would let go and float on- 
ward some dozen feet before his 
other hand reached forward for a 
new hold. 

It was a brachiation through 
space. The spaceman was a gleam- 
ing metal gibbon. 

ARTEMISIA asked, "'What if 
he misses?" 

"He looks too expert to do that," 
said Biron, "but if he does, he'd 
still shine in the sun. We'd pick 
him up again." 

The Linganian was close now. 
He had passed out of the field of 
the visiplate. In another five sec- 
onds, there was the clatter of gaunt- 
leted feet on the ship's hull. 

Biron yanked the lever that lit 
the signals which outlined the ship's 
airlock. A moment later, in answer 
to an imperative series of raps, the 
outer door was opened. There was 
a thump just beyond a blank sec- 
tion of the pilot room's wall. The 
outer door closed; the section of 
wall slid away; and a man stepped 

His suit frosted over instantly, 
blanking the thick glass of his hel- 



met and turning him into a mound 
of white. The air grew cold. Biron 
elevated the heaters and the renew- 
ing gush that entered was warm 
and dry. For a moment, the frost 
on the suit held its own, then be- 
gan to thin and dissolve into a dew. 

The Linganian's blunt metal fin- 
gers were fumbling at the clasps of 
the helmet as though he were im- 
patient with his snowy blindness: 
It lifted off as a unit, the thick, soft 
insulation inside rumpling his hair 
as it passed. 

Gillbret exclaimed, "Your Excel- 
lency!" In glad triumph, he said, 
"Biron, it is the Autarch himself." 

But Biron, in a voice that strug- 
gled vainly against stupefaction, 
could only gasp, "Jonti!" 


The Autarch Remains 

THE Autarch gently toed the suit 
to one side and appropriated 
the larger of the padded chairs. 

He said, "I haven't had that sort 
of exercise in quite a while. But 
they say it never leaves you once 
you've learned, and, apparently, it 
hasn't in my case. Hello, Farrill. 
My lord Gillbret, good day. And 
this, if I remember, is the Direc- 
tor's daughter, the lady Artemisia." 

He placed a long cigaret care- 
fully between his lips and brought 
it to life with a single intake of 
breath. The scented tobacco filled 
the air with its pleasant odor. "I 

did not expect to see you quite so 
soon, Farrill," he said. 

"Or at all, perhaps?" asked 
Biron, acidly. 

"One never knows," agreed the 
Autarch. "Of course, with a mes- 
sage that read only 'Gillbret;' with 
the knowledge that Gillbret could 
not pilot a spaceship; with the fur- 
ther knowledge that I had myself 
sent a young man to Rhodia who 
could pilot a spaceship and who 
was quite capable of stealing a Ty- 
rannian cruiser in his desperation 
to escape; and with the final knowl- 
edge that one of the men on the 
cruiser was' reported to be young 
and of aristocratic bearing; the con- 
clusion was obvious. I am not sur- 
prised to see you." 

"I think you are," said Biron. "I 
think you're as surprised as hell to 
see me. As an assassin, you should 
be. Do you think I am worse at de- 
duction than you are?" 

"I think very highly of you." 

The Autarch was completely un- 
perturbed, and Biron felt awkward 
and stupid in his resentment. He 
turned furiously to the others. 
"This man is Sander Jonti; the 
Sander Jonti I've told you of. He 
may be the Autarch of Lingane be- 
sides, or fifty Autarchs. It makes 
no difference. To me he is Sander 

Artemisia said, "He is the man 
who — " 

Gillbret put a thin and shaking 
hand to his brow. "Control your- 
self, Biron. Are you mad?" 



"This is the man! I am not 
mad!" shouted Biron. He checked 
himself with an effort. "All right. 
There's no point yelling, I suppose. 
Get off my ship, Jonti. That's said 
quietly enough. Get off my ship." 

"My dear Farrill, for what 

Gillbret made incoherent sounds 
in his throat, but Biron pushed him 
aside roughly and faced the seated 
Autarch. "You made one mistake, 
Jonti. Just one. You couldn't tell 
in advance that when I got out of 
my dormitory room back on Earth, 
I would leave my wristwatch inside. 
You see, my wristwatch strap hap- 
pened to be a radiation indicator." 

The Autarch blew a smoke ring 
and smiled pleasantly. 

Biron said, "And that strap 
never turned blue, Jonti. There was 
no radiation bomb in my room that 
night. There was only a deliberate- 
ly planted dud ! If you deny it, you 
are a liar, Jonti, or Autarch, or 
whatever you call yourself. 

"What is more, you planted that 
dud. You knocked me out with 
Hypnite and arranged the rest of 
that night's comedy. It makes quite 
obvious sense, you know. If I had 
been left to myself, I would have 
slept through the night, and would 
never have known that anything 
was out of the way. So who rang 
me on the visiphone until he was 
sure I had awakened — awakened, 
that is, to discover the bomb, which 
had been deliberately placed near 
a radiation counter so that I could 

not miss it? Who blasted my door 
in so that I might leave the room 
before I found out that the bomb 
was only a dud after all ? You must 
have enjoyed yourself that night, 

Biron waited for effect, but the 
Autarch merely nodded in polite 
interest. Biron felt the fury mount. 
It was like punching pillows, whip- 
ping water, kicking air. 

HE SAID harshly, "My father 
was to be executed. I would 
have learned of it soon enough. I 
would have gone to Nephelos, or 
not gone. I would have followed 
my own good sense in the matter, 
confronted the Tyranni openly or 
not as I decided. I would have 
known my chances. I would have 
been prepared for eventualities. 

"But you wanted me to go to • 
Rhodia; to see Hinrik. But, ordi- 
narily, you couldn't expect me to 
do what you wanted. I wasn't like- 
ly to go to you for advice. Unless, 
that is, you. could stage an approp- 
riate situation. You did! 

"I thought I was being bombed 
and I could think of no reason. 
You could. You seemed to have 
saved my life. You seemed to know 
everything; what I ought to do 
next, for instance. I was off-bal- 
ance, confused. I followed your ad- 

Biron ran out of breath and 
waited for an answer. There was 
none. He shouted, "You didn't ex- 
plain that the ship on which I left 



Earth was a Rhodian ship and that 
you had seen to it that the captain 
had been informed of my true iden- 
tity. You didn't explain that you 
intended me to be in the hands of 
the Tyranni the instant I landed on 
Rhodia. Do you deny that?" 

There was a long pause. Jonti 
stubbed out his cigaret. 

Gillbret chafed one hand in the 
other. "Biron, you are being ridicu- 
lous. The Autarch wouldn't — " 

Then Jonti looked up and said 
quietly, "But the Autarch would. 
I admit it all. You are quite right, 
Biron, and I congratulate you on 
your penetration. The bomb was 
a dud planted by myself and I sent 
you to Rhodia with the intention of 
having you arrested by the Ty- 

Biron's face cleared. Some of the 
futility of anger vanished. He said, 
"Some day, Jonti, I will settle that 
matter. At the moment, it seems you 
are Autarch of Lingane with three 
ships waiting for you out there. 
That hampers me a bit more than I 
would like. However, the Remorse- 
less is my ship. I am its pilot. Put 
on your suit and get out. The space- 
line, is still in place." 

"It is not your ship. You are a 
pirate, not a pilot." 

"Possession is all the law here. 
You have five minutes to get into 
your suit." 

"Let's avoid dramatics. We need 
one another and I have no intention 
of leaving." 

"I don't need you. I wouldn't 

need you if the Tyranni home fleet 
were closing in right now and you 
could blast them out of space for 

"Farrill," said Jonti, "you are 
talking and acting like an adoles- 
cent. I've let you have your say. 
May I have mine?" 

"No, I see no reason to listen." 

"Do you see one now?" 

Artemisia screamed. Biron made 

one movement, then stopped. Red 

with frustration, he remained poised 

and helpless. 

Jonti said, "I do take certain 
precautions. I am sorry to be so 
crude as to use a weapon as a 
threat. But I imagine it will help 
me force you to hear me." 

The weapon he held was a pock- 
et-blaster. It was not designed to 
pain or stun. It was the lethal 

JONTI said, "For years, I have 
been organizing Lingane 
against the Tyranni. Do you know 
what that means? It has not been 
easy. It has been almost impossible. 
The Inner Kingdoms will offer no 
help; we've known that from long 
experience. There is no salvation 
for the Nebular Kingdoms, except 
from themselves. But to convince 
our native leaders of this is no 
friendly game. Your father was ac- 
tive in the matter and was killed. 
Not a friendly game at all. Re- 
member that. 

"And your father's capture was a 
crisis to us. It was life and horrible 



death to us. He was in our inner 
circles and the Tyranni were ob- 
viously not far behind us. They 
had to be thrown off-stride. To do 
so, I could scarcely temper my deal- 
ings with honor and integrity. They 
fry no eggs. 

"I couldn't come to you and say, 
'Farrill, we've got to put the Ty- 
ranni on a false scent. You're the 
son of the Rancher and therefore 
suspicious. Get out there and be 
friendly with Hinrik of Rhodia so 
that the Tyranni may look in the 
wrong direction. Lead them away 
from Lingane. It may be danger- 
ous; you may lose your life, but 
the ideals for which your father 
died come first.' 

"Maybe you would have done 
it, but I couldn't afford to experi- 
ment. I maneuvered you into doing 
it without your knowledge. It was 
hard; I'll grant you. Still, I had no 
choice. I thought you might not 
survive; I tell you that frankly. But 
you were expendable; and I tell 
you that frankly. As it turned out, 
you did survive, and I am pleased 
with that. 

"And there was one more thing, 
a matter of a document — " 

Biron said, "What document?" 

"You jump quickly. I said your 
father was working for me, so I 
know what he knew. You were to 
obtain that document and you were 
a good choice, at first. You were 
on Earth legitimately. You were 
young and not likely to be suspect- 
ed. I say, at first! 

"But then, with your father 
arrested, you 'became dangerous. 
You would be an object of prime 
suspicion to the Tyranni; and we 
could not allow the document to 
fall into your possession, since it 
would then almost inevitably fall 
into theirs. We had to get you off 
Earth before you could complete 
your mission. You see, it all hangs 

"Then you have it now?" asked 

The Autarch said, "No, I have 



not. A document which might have 
been the right one has been miss- 
ing from Earth for years. If it is 
the right one, I don't know who 
has it. May I put away the blaster 
now? It grows heavy." 

BIRON said, "Put it away." 
The Autarch did so. He 
said, "What has your father told 
you about the document?" 

"Nothing that you don't know, 
since he worked for you." 

The Autarch smiled. "Quite so!" 

But the smile had little of real 
amusement in it. 

"Are you through with your ex- 
planation now?" 

"Quite through." 

"Then," said Biron, "get off the 

Gillbret said, "Now wait, Biron. 
There's more than private anger to 
be considered here. There's Arte- 
misia and myself, too, you know. 
We have something to say. 'As far 
as I'm concerned, what the Autarch 
says makes sense. I'll remind you 



that on Rhodia I saved your life, 
so I think my views are to be con- 

"All right. You.saved my life," 
shouted Biron. He pointed a finger 
towards the airlock. "Go with him, 
then. Go on. You get out of here, 
too. You wanted to find the Au- 
tarch. There he is ! I agreed to pilot 
you to him and my responsibility 
is over. Don't try to tell me what 
to do." 

He turned to Artemisia, some of 
his anger still brimming over. "And 
what about you ? You saved my life, 
too. Everyone went around saving 
my life. Do you want to go with 
him, too?" 

She said, quietly, "Don't put 
words into my mouth, Biron. If I 
wanted to go with him, I'd certainly 
say so." 

"Don't feel any obligations. You 
can leave any time." 

She looked hurt and he turned 
away. As usual, some cooler part of 
himself knew that he was acting 
childishly. He had been made to 
look foolish by Jonti and he was 
helpless in the face of the resent- 
ment he felt. And besides, why 
should they all take so calmly the 
thesis that it was perfectly right to 
have Biron Farrill thrown to the 
Tyranni, like a bone to the dogs, in 
order to keep them off Jonti's neck ? 
Damn it, what did they think he 

He thought of the dud bomb, 
the Rhodian liner, the Tyranni, the 
wild night on Rhodia, and he could 

feel the stinging of self-pity inside 

The Autarch said, "Well, Far- 

And Gillbret said, "Well, 
Biron ?" 

Biron turned to Artemisia. 
"What do you think?" 

ARTEMISIA said, calmly, "I 
think he has three ships out 
there, and is Autarch of Lingane, 
besides. I don't think you really 
have a choice." 

The Autarch looked at her, and 
he nodded his admiration. "You 
are an intelligent girl, my Lady. It 
is good that such a mind should 
be in such a pleasant exterior." For 
a measurable moment, his eyes lin- 

Biron said, "What's the deal?" 

"Lend me the use of your names 
and your abilities, and I will take 
you to what my lord Gillbret called 
the 'Rebellion World.' " 

Biron said, sourly, "You think 
there is' one?" 

And Gillbret said, simultaneous- 
ly, "Then it is yours." 

The Autarch smiled. "I think 
there is a world such as my lord 
described, but it is not minei" 

"It's not yours?" exclaimed Gill- 
bret, stunned. 

"Does that matter; if I can find 

"How?" demanded Biron. 

The Autarch said, "It is not as 
difficult as you might think. If we 
accept the story as it has been told 



us, we must believe that there ex- 
ists a world in rebellion against the 
Tyranni. We must believe that it is 
located somewhere in the Nebular 
Sector and that, in twenty years, it 
has remained undiscovered by the 
Tyranni. If such a situation is to 
remain possible, there is only one 
place in the Sector where such a 
planet can exist." 

"And where is that?" 

"You do not find the solution 
obvious? Doesn't it seem inevitable 
that the world could exist only 
within the Nebula itself?" 

"Inside the Nebula!" 

Gillbret said, "Great Galaxy, of 
, course!" 

And at the moment, the solution 
did indeed seem obvious and ines- 

Artemisia asked, timidly, "Can 
people live on worlds inside the 

"Why not?" said the Autarch. 
"Don't mistake the Nebula. It is a 
dark mist in space, but it is not a 
poison gas. It is an incredibly at- 
tenuated mass of sodium, potas- 
sium, and calcium atoms that 
absorb and obscure the light of the 
stars within it, and, of course, those 
on the side directly opposite the 
observer. Otherwise, it isjiarmless, 
and, in the direct neighborhood of 
a star, virtually undetectable. 

"I apologize if I seem pedantic, 
but I have spent the last several 
months at the University of Earth 
collecting astronomical data on the 

"Why there?" said Biron. "It is 
a matter of little importance, but I 
met you there and I am curious." 

"There's no mystery to it. I left 
Lingane originally on my own busi- 
ness. The exact nature is of no im- 
portance.. About six months ago, I 
visited Rhodia. My agent, Wide- 
mos — your father, Biron — had been 
unsuccessful in his negotiations 
with the Director, whom we had 
hoped to swing to our side. I tried 
to improve matters and failed, since 
Hinrik, with apologies to the lady, 
is not the type of material for our 
sort of work." 

"TTEAR, hear," said Biron. 

-LJ. The Autarch continued, 
"But I did meet Gillbret, as he may 
have told you. So I went to Earth, 
because Earth is the original home 
of humanity. It was from Earth that 
most of the original explorations 
of the Galaxy set out. It is upon 
Earth that most of the records ex- 
ist. The Horsehead Nebula was ex- 
plored quite thoroughly; at least, it 
was passed through a number of 
times. It was never settled, since 
the difficulties of traveling through 
a volume of space where stellar ob- 
servations could not be made were 
too great. The explorations them- 
selves, however, were all I needed. 
"Now listen carefully. The Ty- 
ranni ship upon which my lord 
Gillbret was marooned was struck 
by a meteor after its first jump. As- 
suming that the trip from Tyrann 
to Rhodia was along the usual trade 



route (and there is no reason to 
suppose anything else) the point 
in space at which the ship left its 
route is established. It would 
scarcely have traveled more than 
half a million miles in ordinary 
space between the first two Jumps. 
We can consider such a length as 
a point in space. 

"It is possible to make another 
assumption. In damaging the con- 
trol panels, it was quite possible 
that the meteor might have altered 
the direction of the Jumps, since 
that woidd require only an inter- 
ference with the motion of the 
ship's gyroscope. This would be 
difficult, but not impossible. To 
change the power of the hyper- 
atomic thrusts, however, would re- 
quire complete smashing of the 
engines, which, of course, were not 
touched by the meteor. 

"With unchanged power of 
thrust, the length of the four re- 
maining Jumps would not be 
changed, nor, for that matter, 
would their relative directions. It 
would be analogous to having a 
long, crooked wire bent at a single 
point in an unknown direction 
through an unknown angle. The 
final position of the ship would lie 
somewhere on the surface of an 
imaginary sphere, the center of 
which would be that point in space 
where the meteor struck, and the 
radius of which would be the vec- 
tor sum of the remaining Jumps. 

"I plotted such a sphere, and 
that surface intersects a thick ex- 

tension of the Horsehead Nebula. 
Some six thousand square degrees 
of the sphere's surface, one-fourth 
of the total surface, lie in the Ne- 
bula. It remains, therefore, only to 
find a star lying within the Nebula 
and within one million miles or so 
of the imaginary surface we are dis- 
cussing. You will remember that 
when Gillbret's ship came to rest, 
it was within reach of a star. 

"Now how many stars within the 
Nebula do you suppose we can find 
that close to the sphere's surface? 
Remember there are one hundred 
billion radiating stars in the Gal- 

BIRON found himself absorbed 
in the matter against his will. 
"Hundreds, I suppose." 

"Five!" replied the Autarch. 
"Just five. Don't be fooled by the 
one hundred billion figure. The gal- 
axy is about seven trillion cubic 
light years in volume, so that there 
are seventy cubic light years per 
star on the average. It is a pity that 
I do not know which of those five 
have habitable planets; we might 
reduce the number of possibles to 
one. Unfortunately, the early ex- 
plorers had no time for detailed 
observations. They plotted the po- 
sitions of the stars, the proper mo- 
tions, and the spectral types." 

"So that on one of those five 
stellar systems," said Biron, "is lo- 
cated the 'rebellion world?' " 

"Only that conclusion would fit 
the facts we know." 



"Assuming Gil's story can be 

"I make that assumption." 

"My story is true," interrupte4 
Gillbret intensely. "I swear it." 

"I am about to leave," said the 
Autarch, "to investigate each of the 
five worlds. My motives in doing 
so are obvious. As Autarch of Lin- 
gane 1 can take an equal part in 
their efforts." 

"And with two Hinriads and a 
Widemos on your side, your bid 
for an equal part, and, presumably, 
a strong and secure position in the 
new, free worlds to come, would 
be so much the better," said Biron. 

"Your cynicism doesn't disturb 
me, Farrill. The answer is obvious- 
ly yes. If there is to be a successful 
rebellion, it would, again obviously, 
be desirable to have your fist on 
the winning side." 

"Otherwise some successful pri- 
vateer or rebel captain might be 
rewarded with the Autarchy of Lin- 

"Or the Ranchy of Widemos." 

"And if the rebellion is not suc- 

"There will be time to judge 
when we find what we look for." 


IRON said slowly, "I'll go with 


"Good ! Then suppose we make 
arrangements for your transfer 
from this ship." 

"Why that?" 

"It would be better for you. This 
ship is a toy." 

"It is a Tyrannian warship. We 
would be wrong in abandoning it." 

"As a Tyrannian warship, it 
would be dangerously conspicuous." 

"Not in the Nebula. I'm sorry, 
Jonti. I'm joining you out of ex- 
pediency. I can be frank, too. I 
want to find the 'rebellion world.' 
But there's no friendship between 
us. I stay at my own controls." 

"Biron," said Artemisia, gently, 
"the ship is too small for three." 

"As it stands, yes, Arta. But it 
can be fitted with a trailer. Jonti 
knows that as well as I do. We'd 
have all the space we needed, then, 
and still be masters at our own con- 
trols. And it would effectively dis- 
guise the nature of the ship." 

The Autarch considered. "If 
there is to be neither friendship nor 
trust, Farrill, I must protect my- 
self. You may have your own ship 
and a trailer to boot, outfitted as 
you may wish. But I must have 
some guarantee for your proper be- 
havior. The lady Artemisia, at least, 
must come with me." 

"No/" said Biron. 

The Autarch lifted his eyebrows. 
"No? Let the lady speak." He 
turned toward Artemisia, and his 
nostrils flared slightly. "I dare say 
you would find the situation very 
comfortable, my Lady." 

"You, at least, would not find 
it comfortable, my Lord. Be as- 
sured of that," she retorted. "I shall 
remain here." 

"I think you might reconsider 
if— " 



"I think not," interrupted Biron. 
"The lady Artemisia has made her 

"And you back her choice?" 

"Entirely. All three of us will 
remain on the Remorseless. There 
will be no compromise on that." 

"You choose your company 

"Do I?" 

"I think so." The Autarch 
seemed idly absorbed in his finger- 
nails. "You seem so annoyed with 
me because I deceived you and 
placed your life in danger. It is 
strange then, is it not, that you 
should seem on such friendly terms 
with the daughter of a man such as 
Hinrik, who in deception is certain- 
ly my master." 

"I know Hinrik. Your opinions 
of him change nothing." 

"You know everything about 

"I know enough." 

"Do you know that he killed 
your father?" The Autarch's finger 
stabbed toward Artemisia. "Do you 
know that the girl you are so deep- 
ly concerned to keep under your 
protection is the daughter of your 
father's murderer?" 


The Autarch Leaves 

THE tableau remained unbroken 
for a moment. The Autarch lit 
another cigaret. He was quite re- 
laxed, his face untroubled. Gill- 

bret had folded into the pilot's seat, 
his face screwed up as though he 
were going to burst into tears. The 
limp straps of the pilot's stress- 
absorbing outfit dangled about him 
and increased the lugubrious effect. 

Biron, paper-white, fists clenched, 
faced the Autarch. Artemisia, her 
thin nostrils flaring, kept her eyes 
not on the Autarch, but on Biron. 

The radio signaled, the soft click- 
ings crashing with the effect of cym- 
bals in the small pilot room. 

Gillbret jerked upright, then 
whirled on the seat. 

The Autarch said lazily, "I'm 
afraid we've been more talkative 
than I'd anticipated. I told Rizzett 
to come get me if I had not re- 
turned in an hour." 

The visual screen was alive now 
with Rizzett's grizzled head. 

Gillbret said to the Autarch, "He 
would like to speak to you." He 
made room. 

The Autarch rose from his chair 
and advanced so that his own head 
was within the zone of visual trans- 

He said, "I am perfectly safe, 

The other's question was heard 
clearly. "Who are the crew mem- 
bers on the cruiser, sir?" 

And Biron stood next to the Au- 
tarch, suddenly. "I am Rancher of 
Widemos," he said, proudly. 

Rizzett smiled gladly and broad- 
ly. A hand appeared on the screen 
in sharp salute. "Greetings, sir." 

The Autarch interrupted, "I will 



be returning soon with a young 
lady. Prepare to maneuver for con- 
tact airlocks." iHe broke the visual 
connection between the two ships. 

He turned to Biron. "I assured 
them it was you on board ship. 
There was some objection to my 
coming here alone otherwise. Your 
father was extremely popular with 
my men." 

"Which is why you can use my 

The Autarch shrugged. 

BIRON said, "It is all you can 
use. Your last statement to 
your officer was inaccurate." 

"In what way?" 

"Artemisia oth Hinriad stays 
with me." 

"After what I have told you?" 

Biron said sharply, "You have 
told me nothing. You have made 
a bare, statement, but I am not like- 
ly to take your unsupported word 
for anything. I tell you this with- 
out any attempt at tact. I hope you 
understand me." 

"Is your knowledge of Hinrik 
such that my statement seems im- 
plausible to you?" 

Biron was staggered. Visibly and 
apparently, the remark had struck 
home. He made no answer. 

Artemisia said, "I say it's not so. 
Do you have proof?" 

"No direct proof, of course. I 
was not present at any conferences 
between your father and the Ty- 
ranni. But I can present certain' 
known facts and allow you to make 

your own inferences. First, the 
Rancher of Widemos visited Hin- 
rik six months ago. I've said that 
already. I can add here that he was 
somewhat over-enthusiastic in his 
efforts, or perhaps he overestimated 
Hinrik's discretion. At any rate, he 
talked more than he should have. 
My lord Gillbret can verify that." 

Gillbret nodded miserably. He 
faced Artemisia, who had turned 
to him with moist and angry eyes. 
"I'm sorry, Arta, but it's true. I've 
told you this. It was from Widemos 
that I heard about the Autarch." 

The Autarch said, "And it was 
fortunate for myself that my Lord 
had developed such long mechani- 
cal ears with which to sate his live- 
ly curiosity concerning the Direc- 
tor's meetings of state. I was 
warned of the danger, quite un- 
wittingly, by Gillbret when he first 
approached me. I left as soon as I 
could, but the damage, of course, 
had been done. 

"Now, to our knowledge, it was 
Widemos's only slip, and Hinrik, 
certainly, has no enviable reputa- 
tion as a man of any great inde- 
pendence and courage. Your father, 
Farrill, was arrested within half a 
year. If not through Hinrik, 
then how?" 

"In our business, we take our 
chances, Farrill, but he was warned. 
After that, he made no contact, 
however indirect, with any of us, 
and destroyed whatever proof of 
connection with us he had. Some 
among us believed that he should 



leave the Sector, or, at the very 
least, go into hiding. He refused 
to do either. 

"I think I can understand why. 
To alter his way of life would 
prove the truth of what the Ty- 
ranni must have learned, endan- 
gered the entire movement. He 
decided to risk his own life only. 
He remained in the open. 

"For nearly half a year, the Ty- 
ranni waited for a betraying ges- 
ture. They are patient, the Tyranni. 
None came, so that when they 
could wait no longer, they found 
nothing in their het but him." 

"It's a lie!" cried Artemisia. "It's 
all a lie. It's a smug, sanctimoni- 
ous, lying story with no truth in 
it! If all you said were true, they 
would be watching you, too. You 
would be in danger yourself." 

"My Lady, I do not waste my 
time. I have already tried to do 
what I could toward discrediting 
your father as a source of informa- 
tion. I think I have succeeded some- 
what. The Tyranni will wonder if 
they ought to listen further to a 
man whose daughter and cousin 
are obvious traitors. And then 
again, if they are still disposed to 
believe him, why, I am on the point 
of vanishing into the Nebula where 
they will not find me. I should 
think my actions tend to prove my 
story rather than otherwise." 

Biron drew a deep breath and 
said, "Let us consider the interview 
at an end, Jonti. We have agreed 
to the extent that we will accom- 

pany you and that you will give us 
needed supplies. That is enough. 
Granting that all you have just said 
is true, it is still beside the point. 
The crimes of the Director of Rho- 
dia do not involve his daughter. 
Artemisia oth Hinriad stays here 
with me, provided she agrees." 

"I do," said Artemisia. 

"Good. I think that covers every- 
thing. I warn you, by the way. You 
are armed; so am I. Your ships are 
fighters, perhaps; mine is a Tyran- 
nian cruiser." 

"Don't be silly, Farrill. My in- 
tentions are quite friendly. You 
wish to keep the girl here? So be 
it. May I leave by contact airlock?" 

Biron nodded. "We will trust 
you that far." 

THE two ships maneuvered 
closer, until the flexible airlock 
extensions pouted outward toward 
one another. Carefully, they edged 
about, seeking the perfect fit. 

The airlock extensions reached 
out, hovered on the brink of insta- 
bility and then, with a noiseless jar, 
the vibrations of which hummed its 
way into the pilot room, settled 
into place, clamps automatically 
locking in position. An airtight seal 
had been formed. 

Biron drew the back of his hand 
slowly across his forehead and some 
of the tension oozed out of him. 

"There it is," he said. . . 

The Autarch lifted his spacesuit. 
There was still a thin film of mois- 
ture- under it. 



"Thanks," he said, pleasantly. 
"An officer of mine will be right 
back. You will arrange the details 
of the supplies necessary with him." 

The Autarch left. 

BIRON said, "Take care of 
Jonti's officer for me for a 
while, will you, Gil? When he 
comes in, break the airlock contact. 
All you'll have to do is remove the 
magnetic field. This is the photonic 
switch you'll flash." 

He turned and stepped out of 
the pilot room. Right now, he 
needed time for himself. Time to 
think, mostly. 

But there was the hurried foot- 
step behind, him, and the soft voice. 
He stopped. 

"Biron," said Artemisia, "I want 
to speak to you." 

He faced her. "Later, if you don't 
mind, Area." 

She was looking up at him, in- 
tently. "No, now." 

Her arms were poised as though 
she would have liked to embrace 
him, but was not sure of her recep- 
tions. She said, "You didn't believe 
what he said about my father." 

"It has no bearing," said Biron. 

"Biron," she began. It was hard 
for her to say it. "I know that part 
of what has been going on between 
us has been because we've been 
alone and together and in danger, 
but — " She stopped again. 

Biron said, "If you're trying to 
say you're a Hinriad, Arta, there's 

no need. I know it. I won't hold 
you to anything." 

"No. Oh, no!" She caught his 
arm and placed her cheek against 
his hard shoulder. She was speak- 
ing rapidly. "That's not it at all. It 
doesn't matter about Hinriad and 
Wi demos at all. I — I love you, 

Her eyes went up, meeting his. 
"I think you love me, too. I think 
you would admit it if you could 
forget I were a Hinriad. Maybe you 
will now that I've said it first. You 
told the Autarch you would not 
hold my father's deeds against me. 
Don't hold his rank against me, 

Her arms were around his neck 
now. Biron could feel the softness 
of her breasts against him and the 
warmth of her breath on his lips. 
Slowly his own hands went up and 
gently grasped her forearms. As 
gently, he disengaged her arms. 

He said, "I am not quits with 
the Hinriads, my Lady." 

She was startled. "You told the 
Autarch — " 

He looked away. "Sorry, Arta. 
Don't go by what I told the Au- 

She wanted to cry out that it 
wasn't true, that her father had not 
done this thing, that in any case — 

But he turned into the cabin and 
left her standing in the corridor, 
her eyes filling with hurt and 


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